South Pole Carbon, a Zurich-based climate protection organisation, has been commissioned to analyse the climate impact of Harvard University’s endowment investments.
The contract was awarded by faculty and student groups of Divest Harvard and US-based NGO 350.org. As part of its assignment, South Pole Group has analysed close to USD 1 billion of Harvard’s investments.
The estimated greenhouse gas emissions from the university’s investments are over 11 million tonnes of carbon dioxide, roughly the equivalent to those of the country of Jamaica or the US states of Rhode Island or Delaware.
“In case there weren’t reasons enough why Harvard should divest, South Pole Group’s report shows that this administration’s intransigence has worsened climate change, full stop,” says Karthik Ganapthy, US communications manager for 350.org.
350.org is holding an action this week called Harvard Heat Week to push the university to divest from fossil fuels.
A number of key financial players have divested from fossil fuels in recent months, including the Rockefeller Brothers Fund and the Guardian Media Group.
South Pole group is a pioneer in the field of climate-related portfolio investment. It calls the carbon accounting of assets under management “a necessary and prudent first step in evaluating strategic options and response”, including divestment from fossil fuels, explains Stephen Scofield, director of South Pole Group’s North American office.