All who invest in Exxon-Mobil and Chevron should surely use their voices as shareholders to influence these companies’ policies. Universities have a special responsibility. Their students and faculty are rightly anxious about the consequences of continuing fossil fuel use — and, as respected institutions, their potential influence could be substantial.
Lord Martin Rees Former President, The Royal Society; Fellow of Trinity College, University of Cambridge
I applaud this global multi-university initiative to influence Exxon Mobil and Chevron to join the rest of the world in fighting climate change. I encourage all of my academic colleagues to support it by signing these letters. University endowments need to know that the faculty care as much about climate change as the students do.
Professor Robert G. Eccles Professor of Management Practice, Harvard Business School
Universities are charitable corporations. They ought to take heed of their designation: working for the best interests of society as the core of their existence. This means not placing their own financial strategies first if those strategies might harm society. Let us take the long view. Use imagination informed by fact. Envision the future as it might be. Almost every new scientific report, including recent ones about the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, put this handwriting on the wall: “The times they are a-changin’.”
Professor James Engell Harvard University Center for the Environment, Faculty Associate; Co-editor, Environment (Yale University Press)
Institutions that take seriously their task of preparing the leaders of tomorrow need to consider the future itself. Climate change represents a real and indisputable threat to the planet and its inhabitants, and these institutions should summon their moral authority and influence to lead the transition to a carbon-neutral economy.
Professor Randall Balmer Chair of the Department of Religion, Fellow of the Ethics Institute, and Director of the Society of Fellows, Dartmouth College
This is a clever and cooperative approach to corporate change; Exxon and Chevron would do well to heed the advice of so many eminent academics.
Lord Deben Chairman of the UK's independent Committee on Climate Change
Divestment is good, and often also the profitable path. It doesn’t get much more symbolic than the company with the New York Stock Exchange symbol “BTU” declaring bankruptcy. Positive investment takes divestment a step further. It means energy companies taking the risks of climate change seriously in their investment decisions. It also means considering climate policy itself not as a risk but as an opportunity.
Dr Gernot Wagner Harvard University Center for the Environment, Fellow; Co-author, Climate Shock (Princeton University Press)