Toronto, Ontario...Following over four years of in-depth analysis and due process, the Board of Regents for Victoria University in the University of Toronto has approved motions to divest from funds in its endowment portfolio that have exposure to direct fossil fuel producers.
Divestment from direct fossil fuel producers will be informed by the timeline established by UofT with an end goal of 2030.
“I want to thank every member of the Board of Regents, including students who serve on the Board, for the rigour, hard work and conviction that they brought to the process of divestment. From the beginning of our discussions four years ago, there was strong support for divestment, and I am proud of the duty of care and due process that was followed,” said Cynthia Crysler, Chair of the Board of Regents, Victoria University in the University of Toronto.
The process to divest began in 2018 with the launch of an ESG committee in Victoria University’s Investment Committee of the Board of Regents which developed a policy that reflected its commitment to sustainability in its investments. On the heels of the decision by The University of Toronto in 2021 to divest, Victoria University’s Board of Regents began a formal process of analyzing its exposure to fossil fuels and the impact that divestment would have on the endowment’s capacity to fund the University’s outstanding academic offerings, operations and signature learning experiences. A Divestment Subcommittee of the Investment Committee of the Board of Regents was later formed and in 2022, a student representative was made a formal member of the committee. The Divestment Subcommittee conducted meetings with internal and external stakeholders, including independent fund managers, Victoria University’s financial consultant, and other subject matter experts for a fulsome understanding of the issue. The Property Committee also engaged in due diligence and discussions. The process was led by the Executive Committee of the Board which made recommendations to the full Board of Regents, both of which include students.
“When I arrived at Vic U in July 2022 I was very encouraged by the progress being made by the Board of Regents on the issue of divestment from fossil fuels. It has been a privilege to be part of those conversations, which were always anchored in the future that we want to help build for our students. I am immensely proud of Vic students, some of whom served on our Board, who have been advocating for this issue for many years. Together, we made a meaningful and impactful decision for our collective future,” said Dr. Rhonda N. McEwen, President and Vice-Chancellor, Victoria University in the University of Toronto.
About Victoria University in The University of Toronto
Victoria University, federated with The University of Toronto, was founded in 1836 and is one of the oldest universities in Canada. As a recognized leader in undergraduate education in the arts and sciences and in graduate education in theology, Victoria University creates an environment where students discover how to match their distinctive talents to some of the world's most pressing issues. It is home to two outstanding colleges. Victoria College—with its small class sizes, its distinctive first-year programs, and its exceptional students—is recognized as one of the most rewarding places in Canada to pursue an undergraduate education. Emmanuel College prepares students from many faiths and backgrounds for leadership roles in religious contexts. The iconic campus is located on the east side of Queen’s Park, south of Bloor Street, in Toronto.
Sally Szuster, Director, Communications
Victoria University in the University of Toronto