The University of Edinburgh is taking steps to withdraw its investments in fossil fuel producers, in response to pressure from student groups and activists.
Students staged pickets and occupied a building after the university said two weeks ago it would only divest from companies that produce coal and tar sands if they are found not to be investing in technologies that address climate change.
But yesterday the university said it is informing “three of the world’s biggest fossil fuel producers” of its intentions to divest from them within the next six months, giving them four weeks to respond.
Kirsty Haigh of the Edinburgh People and Planet student group, said: “We are glad to see the university finally accept that there are lower-carbon alternatives to coal and tar sands, but it should have never taken this long.
“The university is pledging to engage with these companies for the next four weeks before divesting, but have not outlined what that means.
“These companies pour millions into greenwashing (using marketing to back up their green credentials) and it is crucial that the university is not bought over by this and that they follow through and fully divest from them.”
Ric Lander of Friends of the Earth Scotland, said: “To avoid catastrophic climate change we know that 80% of fossil fuels reserves must be kept in the ground.
“The investment decisions of Scottish institutions will play a part in shaping our future and they must be held accountable for the impacts of their investment policy.
“Students, staff and alumni are unlikely to be reassured until they take the final step to divest from fossil fuel companies.”