Reinvest Vanderbilt board member Skyler Hutto writes that oil companies’ investments in alternative energies have been insufficient, and until they get serious about becoming true energy companies, responsible investors should not hold their stocks. “In social and political movements of past decades, universities have taken the lead in asking for a change as investors. Each institution controls millions if not billions in capital, and more importantly, these institutions have loud voices. In the ‘80s, colleges divested from South African companies to oppose Apartheid. In the ‘90s, they divested from tobacco companies because of the irresponsible practices of those businesses. Now it is time for universities, including Vanderbilt, to divest from fossil fuel companies that refuse to seriously add green energy to their portfolio.”
Reinvest Vanderbilt Co-Chair Mike Diamond writes that bad incentives, not bad people, are to blame for the climate crisis, and the best way for universities to help fix these incentives is through divestment. “By selling off any equities the endowment directly holds in coal and oil and by committing to not purchase any new ones, Vanderbilt could send a clear message that fossil fuel stocks are not sustainable investments. It’s not because these companies set out to be evil; they’re just responding rationally to the incentives they face. It is up to us to change these incentives. It is up to us to ensure that sustainability is the default policy. It is up to us to divest.”
Reinvest Vanderbilt Co-Chair Katie Ullmann explains how reinvestment is only logical (literally) in The Vanderbilt Hustler.
Reinvest Vanderbilt board member Molly Corn makes the case for reinvestment as “just business” in The Vanderbilt Hustler. “Those who choose to invest in clean energy early will reap generous rewards in the future, but they are also choosing to responsibly limit carbon dioxide emissions that are currently having disastrous effects on the environment. Successful investment requires responsibility: Almost all financial disasters can be linked to overly available credit and speculation. The finiteness of fossil fuels provides us a unique opportunity in which the altruistic option will inevitably become the economical option, so just business can truly be just business.”
Reinvest Vanderbilt Co-Chair Mike Diamond makes the conservative case for divestment in The Vanderbilt Torch, Vanderbilt’s conservative and libertarian commentary magazine. Whatever your political beliefs, we can all agree that protecting our planet is a top priority.
Doctoral candidate Rebecca Tuvel writes that because rich nations created much of the problem of climate change, it is our responsibility to come up with the solution. “What is Vanderbilt’s role in all this? For starters, if we are committed not merely to discussing issues of justice in the classroom, but to helping solve them, then Vanderbilt must divest from the fossil fuel industry and commit to sustainable energy. Only then can we members of the Vanderbilt community proudly consider ourselves agents in remedying the historical and ongoing injustices exacerbated by climate change.”
Civil Engineering Professor Lori Troxel writes that Vanderbilt should capitalize on the new opportunities being opened up by renewable technologies like solar power. “Vanderbilt can support engineering for the future and profit from it, and for this reason, the time has come for Vanderbilt to begin investing in sustainable technologies.”
Author and journalist Amanda Little writes that reinvestment is “not only an ethically sound strategy for Vanderbilt, it is an economically sound strategy in the long view. Doing so will insulate Vanderbilt’s endowment from the political uncertainties that surround climate change, and will help build a thriving green economy with lasting job opportunities for our graduates.”
Doctoral candidate Killian Quigley writes that reinvesting in renewable technologies will allow us to move beyond the dirty fuels that, for now, make modern life possible.