London’s Imperial College facing student pressure over responsible investment policy

Technical university houses the Grantham climate institute

Imperial College, the London technical university which houses the Grantham Institute – Climate Change and Environment, is under student pressure to disclose the responsible investment policy of its £126.2m (€149m) endowment.

A group of students studying Climate Change, Management and Finance at the Grantham Institute say there is no transparency around the responsible investment approach of the endowment, so have formed the ‘Responsible Investment Club’ to engage on the issue.

Speaking to RI, Nick Spooner, who co-founded the club, said that rather than join its university fossil free campaign group, he had taken inspiration from student campaigns seeking to engage on responsible investment issues such as Positive Investment Cambridge, calling it a more “pragmatic approach”.

Sarah Clements, who has also started the club, said its work was less about divestment and more about starting a discussion.In a blog both say Imperial, home not only to the Grantham body but also the Imperial Centre for Climate Finance & Investment, has “the opportunity to use this wealth of knowledge and define an investment strategy that reflects the College’s progressive and incisive culture.”

Clements and Spooner say they have so far been unable to see or discuss the responsible investment policy of the Imperial College London endowment, but they have been offered a meeting with its financial director, Muir Sanderson, to discuss their concerns and ideas.

Next week, the Club will host an event on the topic of responsible investment, including panelists from Legal and General, Carbon Tracker Initiative and WHEB Asset Management.

Imperial College’s famous alumni include not only the likes of HG Wells and Queen guitarist Brian May, but business figures such as Jones Lang LaSalle’s Colin Dyer, Iain Conn of Centrica and Ian Read (Pfizer). It did not respond to inquiries.