Image Credit: Cameron Samuel Keys

Fossil fuel investment protest outside RadCam

The Oxford Climate Justice Campaign (OCJC) protested the University of Oxford’s fossil fuel investments outside the Radcliffe Camera on February 23rd. 

The Oxford Student reported last week that the University had increased its indirect fossil fuel investments through its endowment fund OUem by around £31.2 million in 2022, an increase of over £12m in one year.

The protest took place in Radcliffe Square at 2pm on Friday, with around 15-20 demonstrators present. Protesters handed out leaflets to passersby, and posed with signs and a banner calling for divestment.

The signs and banners read “OUem is burning our future”, “Oxford University greenwashing”, and “Oily Oxford.”

The leaflet stated that “more than 1 in every £200 the University invests is still going to the likes of Shell, ExxonMobil and BP,” which “amounts to over £30 million.” It also read that “Oxford’s ethical investment activity (ESG engagements) has sharply declined,” and called for students to “take action now” by emailing University leadership “urging them to stop rolling back ethical investment commitments.”

The organisers of the protest from OCJC commented that “the fact that fossil fuel investments have gone up is pretty shocking,” and that it was “important to make people aware” and to “keep the tension on this important issue.”

The Oxford Climate Justice Campaign also urged Vice-Chancellor Irene Tracey to “take meaningful action on this.”

Elliot (Riz) Possnett, SU presidential candidate, was present at the protest and commented that “the University should not still be investing in fossil fuels”, and that it was “banking on the…existential threat of our generation.” Possnett added that there is “so much more they [the University] need to do – this is the least they can”, and that “we [students] are paying for the worst things you can imagine by going here [Oxford University].”

Mia Clement, VP Activities and Community of the Oxford SU, was also at the demonstration. She had previously commented on the issue, stating: “Students will be disappointed to see this decrease in ethical engagement, the absence of a clear strategy for escalating such engagements, and significantly increased active investment in fossil fuels.”

The University has been under mounting criticism for failing to sever ties with the fossil fuels industry, notably with Just Stop Oil painting the Radcliffe Camera orange in October, and a report showing Oxford accepted £1.2m in funding from fossil fuel companies in 2022.

Image Credit: Cameron Samuel Keys

Image Description: protesters outside the radcam