FitzRandolph Gate

Princeton dissociates from segments of fossil fuel industry

The Board of Trustees of Princeton University voted earlier this month to dissociate from 90 companies pursuant to a fossil fuel dissociation decision made last year that focused on the most-polluting segments of the industry and on concerns about corporate disinformation campaigns.

As a step toward the Board’s related commitment to achieving a net-zero endowment portfolio over time, the Princeton University Investment Company (PRINCO) will also eliminate all holdings in publicly traded fossil fuel companies. PRINCO will also ensure that the endowment does not benefit from any future exposure to those companies.

The companies subject to dissociation are all active in the thermal coal or tar sands segments of the fossil fuel industry, which are among the sector’s largest contributors to carbon emissions. The quantitative criteria used to determine the dissociation list were based on recommendations made by a panel of faculty experts in a report submitted in May.

Informed by that report, the Board determined that the bar for dissociation on the basis of disinformation is exceedingly high, especially in the absence of quantitative standards and in light of the University’s commitment to embracing the vigorous exchange of ideas. The Board may in the future identify companies that meet this exceedingly high bar.

“We’re grateful to the Princeton faculty members who dedicated their time and expertise to addressing an important and challenging set of questions,” said Board Chair Weezie Sams. “It is thanks to their work, and the engagement of many members of the University community, that we’re able to take these steps today.”

The board’s vote is the culmination of a community-initiated two-year process that included input from stakeholders across the campus community. The University will also establish a new fund to support energy research at Princeton, in part to offset research funding no longer available because of dissociation.

“Princeton will have the most significant impact on the climate crisis through the scholarship we generate and the people we educate,” said President Christopher L. Eisgruber. “The creation of this new fund is one of several ways that the University is helping to provide Princeton researchers with the resources they need to pursue this work.”

For more information, visit the Fossil Fuel Dissociation website