Stanford University has announced that its rich endowment will not make any direct investment in coal companies, becoming the twelfth and most prestigious university to divest under pressure from foes of fossil fuels.
“Moving away from coal in the investment context is a small but constructive step while work continues at Stanford and elsewhere to develop broadly viable sustainable energy solutions for the future,” Stanford’s president John Hennessy said in a statement. Stanford doesn't disclose its holdings; as of Aug. 31, 2013, its endowment was worth $18.7 billion.
This makes Seattle University's rejection of fossil fuel divestment earlier this year look all the more backward.
"Stanford’s decision may set a precedent for other universities, including the UW, that have grappled with this issue," said the University of Washington's budget and planning office in a blog post yesterday.