Ethical Investment and Finance

The University of Birmingham is committed to maintaining high environmental, social and governance (ESG) standards across its investment portfolios and we are signatories to the UN Principles for Responsible Investment, incorporating ESG factors in our investments. 

The University has agreed to proactively pursue ethical fund options, where suitable investment vehicles are available, and where investment returns would be consistent with the University’s charitable objectives. In 2019 we transitioned our absolute returns fund investments to ethical investment funds. In 2022 we invested in a sustainable equities fund and we also invest in sustainable bonds.

We aim to invest in companies where the activities of the company are, on ethical grounds, consistent with the educational and/or research objectives of the University.

The University’s Responsible Investment Policy includes investment exclusion criteria regarding the following investment areas:

      • Tobacco
      • Armaments
      • Human Rights & Labour Standards
      • Oil & Mining Companies

Investment Managers

The University invests indirectly through external investment managers. As part of our investment manager selection process we require fund managers to confirm they have robust ESG policies in place and we carry out regular performance reviews including their application of ESG policies when making investment decisions.

Investing in Fossil Fuels

We are committed to transitioning to a sustainable future and a low carbon world in line with the Paris Agreement, and work with similarly minded businesses which enables us to influence change. Investment in fossil fuel related companies represents only 0.22% of the University’s Investment Assets as of November 2022 compared to 10% in 2018. The value of this investment in fossil fuel related companies is £443k. We fully expect to reduce this further as the result of investment fund changes being made in the coming months.

The University’s external investment managers regularly meet with the CEOs and governance boards of companies to apply stakeholder pressure, influence change and contribute to the transition to a sustainable future.

Further Information

For staff and students, there is more specific information on how the investment portfolio was chosen and a breakdown of where investments go in our investment portfolio and endowment fund page. Our full Responsible Investment Policy is also available to download.