Message from the Office of the Provost

Posted: September 11, 2023

Trinity College commits to divest from remaining indirect investments in fossil fuel companies

The Trinity College Board of Trustees has adopted the 2030 or sooner timeline announced by the University of Toronto for the divestment of the small remaining portion of its endowment that is held indirectly in fossil fuel investments.

In conjunction with the Trinity College Board of Trustees and in support of the College’s commitment to sustainability, the College has been reviewing its endowment portfolio holdings and its Investment Policy, which is guided by environmental, social and governance factors, and considerations for sustainable investing.

As part of this review, the College confirmed that it did not hold any direct investments in fossil fuel companies, but it did have a small percentage of such holdings in externally managed indirect investments in pooled funds. Since 2018, the College has also been specifically investing in funds that focus on environmental sectors and transition to a clean-energy future.

“A Sub-Committee of the Board will be established to develop an implementation plan, with the guidance from the College’s independent investment advisors, for the removal of the remaining fossil fuel companies from its indirect investments by no later than 2030 or sooner if possible, while maintaining the overall quality and diversity of the investments in the endowment funds,” said Sharon Geraghty, Chair of the Board of Trustees.

“Climate change and the environment are among our most urgent and greatest challenges, and Trinity College is committed to taking action to ensure a just and sustainable future,” said Provost Mayo Moran. “Trinity has always been a leader on issues of sustainability and the environment, and we believe that we must take a critical and integrated approach to sustainability in order to ensure a healthy common future. We are confident we can do this within the time frame and in a manner that maintains the financial strength of the endowment funds.”

Trinity College is also deeply committed and engaged on a wide range of sustainability priorities including through Trinity’s Integrated Sustainability Initiative. The Margaret MacMillan Trinity One Program is home to the Butterfield Environment & Sustainability stream. The College also established itself as a leader on sustainability when it introduced mandatory sustainability courses in its upper-year academic programs, as well as sustainability focused co-curricular activities and research opportunities for students. The College has also made considerable sustainability-oriented investments in Trinity’s new landmark residence and academic building – Lawson Centre for Sustainability. Scheduled to open in 2025, this leading-edge building is a mass timber, zero carbon, LEED platinum building that uses geothermal heating and cooling as well as rooftop photovoltaics and an underground cistern for rainwater collection and reuse. The new building also features the George and Martha Butterfield Rooftop Farm and a community kitchen to make sustainability part of daily life at the College.

This sustainability initiative and the new building add to previous and ongoing sustainable practices and spaces on campus. These include solar energy (Gerald Larkin Building), geothermal energy (Archives), roof garden (St. Hilda’s College), conservation practices (including cistern for rainwater reclamation), urban beehives, and practices in our general operations, such as food service (with 2016 Fair Trade Campus designation and Eco To-Go Container Program), procurement, lighting retrofits and waste management.