BY ISN STAFF | February 6, 2020
The Georgetown University Board of Directors today adopted a policy that will divest the school’s public securities of fossil fuel companies within the next five years and divest from existing private investments in those companies over the next 10 years. The action today by the board is the result of a multiyear engagement within the Georgetown community that included students, faculty and staff.
According to a Georgetown statement, under the new policy, the university will continue to make investments that target a market rate of return in renewable energy, energy efficiency, and related areas while freezing new endowment investments in companies or funds whose primary business is the exploration or extraction of fossil fuels.
“Animated by our Catholic and Jesuit identity, our University has sought to strengthen opportunities for our community to contribute to a more sustainable future by fostering dialogue, research, education and the engagement of all members of our community,” says Georgetown President John J. DeGioia.“This decision by our board of directors advances the deep commitment we have to sustainability and our efforts to respond to urgent global environmental challenges.” In 2015, President DeGioia joined hundreds of Catholic leaders in making a public commitment to support the contents of Pope Francis’s encyclical Laudato Si’: On Care for Our Common Home.
A growing list of Catholic institutions, including religious orders, universities, and other entities have committed to fossil fuel divestment in recent years. In September 2019, 15 Catholic institutions including the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines and Caritas agencies in Italy, Singapore, Australia, and Norway announced their divestment. A worldwide Catholic divestment campaign has been led by the Global Catholic Climate Movement.
Georgetown University is the oldest Catholic and Jesuit institution of higher learning in the United States, founded in 1789 by Archbishop John Carroll. Georgetown has been an institutional member of the Ignatian Solidarity Network since ISN’s founding in 2004 and is a regular program and campaign participant.