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Highway 63 curves past the Syncrude oil sands site, north of Fort McMurray, Alta., in this file photo. (Ian Willms For The Globe and Mail)
Highway 63 curves past the Syncrude oil sands site, north of Fort McMurray, Alta., in this file photo. (Ian Willms For The Globe and Mail)

University of Ottawa to cut the carbon footprint of its investments Add to ...

The University of Ottawa’s board of governors has adopted a plan that will see the school reduce the carbon footprint of its investment portfolio by 30 per cent by 2030.

Board chairman Robert Giroux says the decision, which followed 18 months of consultations, is in line with Canada’s national climate commitment.

The university says it will also create a clean innovations fund and transfer $10-million from its long-term portfolio to provide seed capital for investing in clean technologies.

The Ottawa school is one of several across the country that have been weighing whether to dump their holdings in fossil fuel companies.

Concordia University in Montreal became what is believed to be the first Canadian university to adopt a partial divestment policy in December 2014, although that measure only applied to a $5-million fund – a fraction of the school’s $130-million endowment.

The University of Calgary, McGill University in Montreal and Dalhousie University in Halifax have all decided against divestment, as did the University of British Columbia, which instead promised to create a low-carbon investment fund.

On March 30, the University of Toronto rejected recommendations to sell off its fossil fuel investments, but said it would consider environmental, social and governance factors in making investment decisions.

University president Meric Gertler said not investing in fossil fuels would have limited impact because such firms only account for one-quarter of Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions.

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