National Taiwan University to pull investment from high-polluting industries

More than 20 percent of NTU's endowment portfolio is in such industries

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National Taiwan University campus.

National Taiwan University campus. (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — National Taiwan University (NTU) will divest its endowment funds from high-polluting industries by the end of 2020, becoming the first university in Asia to do so, according to its student association.

The National Taiwan University Student Association (NTUSA) Department of Sustainability said in a Facebook post on Tuesday (Dec. 17) that the management of Taiwan’s most prestigious university promised on Nov. 28 to adopt a new principle on which to carry out investment plans.

That principle involves the withdrawal of funds from high carbon-emitting industries. It also requires the establishment of an investment assessment mechanism to take into account a company's corporate social responsibility and performance regarding environmental, social, and governance (ESG) issues as well as adherence to the United Nations-supported Principles for Responsible Investment.

The move has been hailed as a milestone in the student association's three-year push for a more environmentally conscious approach to the school’s finance operations. Currently, up to 22 percent of NTU's investment portfolio is in high emission sectors, according to the NTUSA Department of Sustainability.

It has become a global trend for universities to pull investment from fossil fuel industries, with top universities like Stanford and Cambridge supporting the cause, said Huang Yu-ting (黃毓庭), head of the Department of Sustainability. Huang urged NTU to publish relevant information so that the school will be recognized internationally as a contributor to the campaign, reported CNA.