Education institutions and their links to the fossil fuel industry

Hi All!

I am currently conducting some research into the links UK higher and further education institutions have with the fossil fuel industry. In the UK public institutions are subject to the Freedom of Information Act (2000), which means that individuals have the right to request information from them that is not available through their publication scheme. Below I have pasted the questions I will be asking of them... does anyone have any experience of conducting the same kind of research, UK or elsewhere, and if so do you have any bits of advice? Any thoughts regardless are appreciated, experience or not, especially if you think there is an area we are missing! 

Thanks in advance!

Laura Clayson :)

 

FOI 1
To be sent out on Mon 10 Aug to all Higher Education Institutions only

I am gathering information on how the tertiary education sector has invested in fossil fuel companies. Under the Freedom of Information Act, I would appreciate it if you could provide me with responses to the following questions.

1. What was the market value of the institution's endowment funds on 31 July 2015?
2. In terms of the endowment funds, what companies or financial products did the institution have investments in on 31 July 2015, and what was the market value invested in each company or financial product on that date?
3. Are the institution's endowment funds managed directly by the institution, or indirectly by an external fund manager(s), or a combination of both? If external fund manager(s) are used, please provide the name of each company used, along with the % of the endowment funds that they were managing on 31 July 2015.
4. Does the institution pay into any pension schemes specifically for the institution's employees? If so, what is the name of the scheme(s), and what was the value of the scheme(s) assets on 31 July 2015?
5. Does the institution have an ethical investment policy, or similar? If so, please state if it is publically-available, and provide a web link. If it is not publically available, please provide a copy.
6. Does the institution apply any specific investment inclusions or exclusions to endowment funds or financial investments? If so, please provide details on what they are.
7. Does the institution own (partly or wholly) any spin-off companies or social enterprises? If so, for each please provide the name of the company / social enterprise, a brief description of what it does, and the percentage owned by the institution.
8. Between 01 August 2014 and 31 July 2015, were there any formal discussions at governance committees, such as Council, Senate, or equivalent, on divesting from any companies / enterprises / sectors? If so, please detail how the discussion was initiated, which companies and sectors it involved, and what outcome was agreed.
9. Does the institution have a formal process for staff or students to make representations about companies or sections that they deem to breech any ethical investment policy / any specific investment exclusions? If so, please state if it is publically-available, and provide a web link. If it is not publically available, please provide a copy.


FOI 2
To be sent out on Mon 17 Aug to all Higher Education Institutions, and then also all Higher/Further Education Institutions and Further Education Institutions

I'm gathering information on how the energy industry is investing in, and influencing, tertiary education institutions. Under the Freedom of Information Act, I would appreciate it if you could provide me with responses to the following questions:

1. Between 01 August 2014 and 31 July 2015, did the institution receive any research grants or contracts relating to any of the following areas?
• Climate change, including mitigation and adaptation;
• Energy efficiency;
• Renewable energy;
• Nuclear power;
• Carbon capture and storage;
• Fossil fuels for energy, including finding, extracting and combustion.

If yes, please provide a brief description for each research grant or contract, including what the research involves, the amount of funding received by the institution over the period 01 August 2014 to 31 July 2015, the name(s) of the funder(s), and any other academic institutions involved in the research.

2. Between 01 August 2014 and 31 July 2015, did the institution receive any other income, gifts or gifts in kind from companies whose primary activities relate to the energy industry? This should include companies engaged in fossil fuel extraction, energy generation, and renewables. It should include, but is not limited to, sponsorship, scholarships or bursaries, training contracts, corporate hospitality, and attendance at recruitment fairs.

If yes, please detail each item, including the name the donor, what the income / gift / gift in kind was, and the approximate value of each.

3. Are any of the institution's governors linked to companies whose primary activities relate to the energy industry? This includes companies engaged in fossil fuel extraction, energy generation, and renewables. If yes, please provide details, and provide the register of interests for your governing body members.

 

 

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