The AFR are now looking at the linkages between the Greens, the Australia Institute, CAER and the ANU.
AODP Chair Dr John Hewson, himself a Preofessor (sic) at ANU said “This is the tip of the iceberg regarding institutional resistance to the transparency that would prove that these Universities and other institutions are taking some huge gambles on a nice gentle transition to the low carbon economy -and they have no Plan B if they are wrong.” Earlier this week, it was revealed that Australia’s 8 premier universities had apparently colluded in a botched attempt to avoid scrutiny over their long term investment strategies that would include a plan for dealing with the financial risks of climate change.
This information was inadvertently supplied by Monash University just hours after a request by AODP for such disclosure from 300 Universities around the world. It has since emerged that Oxford and Cambridge Universities have also refused to disclose.
“These Vice Chancellors and their investment officers are trusted with this money that doesn’t belong to them – they have a duty to avert the risks to that money posed by climate change,“ Dr Hewson said.
In the meantime the greenies are trying to shift the debate:
THE decision by the Australian National University to sell its shares in the oil and gas miner Santos last week is another body blow to the company’s trouble plagued Narrabri coal-seam gas project in northwestern NSW.
The Narrabri project continues to attract all the wrong sorts of headlines despite the best efforts of Santos chief executive David Knox to put a positive spin on disaster after disaster (The Australian, October 13).
The decision by the ANU will not be the last as shareholders and investors, big and small, recognise that the Santos decision to invest heavily in the controversial unconventional gas industry is exposing the company to unprecedented financial and organisational risk.
Now had the ANU initially argued that they had concerns about the long-term prospects of the stock, or that it was, in their opinion over-valued, or something similar, they would have gotten away with it. But they didn’t.
ANU said on Friday it would sell its holdings in Iluka Resources, Independence Group, Newcrest Mining, Sandfire Resources, Oil Search, Santos and Sirius – amounting to about 1 per cent of its $1.1 billion portfolio.
ANU vice chancellor Ian Young said the university’s policy was “in simple terms, we should not invest in companies that cause social harm”.
The university relied on research group CAER – which provides advice on the environmental, social and governance performance of public companies – to decide which stocks it would divest. CAER ranked the companies in the ANU portfolio in five groups from most responsible to least and ANU decided to sell the ones on the lowest level.
We’re in for some back-flipping, I think. Their apparent sophistication but shallow understanding of portfolio theory is going to be sorely tested.