MacGreenInvest: A Brief History

MacGreenInvest: A Brief History

 MacGreenInvest has its origins in a student-led group called Fossil-free McMaster, which began in 2013.

In the autumn of 2015 student submitted a petition signed by 897 people, and Jim Quinn and Atif Kubursi penned a letter to the administration of McMaster University including over 100 faculty signatures.* The letter requested divestment of endowment funds from the top 100 coal and top 100 oil and gas investments (, making the argument that:
  •  There already exist 5X proven fossil fuel reserves needed to exceed 2C degrees increase
  • There is a moral case for an educational institution not to invest in destruction of the climate 
  • The removal of social license has symbolic importance (cf. divestment over apartheid)
  • Fossil fuel investments will tank in value with the conversion to green energy use
After meeting with McMaster's then-President, Patrick Deane, it was decided that Dr. Deane would strike a committee to evaluate the possibility of divestment of the university's endowment fund. The committee (President's Advisory Committee on Fossil Fuel Divestment - PACFFD) hosted a town hall meeting to measure interest in divestment across the campus. A survey was sent out by the committee and the results were included in the final report. The committee published it final report with 12 recommendations in 2017 (

A review of the report found it to be flawed, and a letter by Jim Quinn and Atif Kubursi was sent to the administration pointing out that the report appeared to have been written to support a negative position without fair evidence. The letter claimed that the survey was interpreted unfairly.**

In response to the letter from Quinn and Kubursi, Dr. Deane accepted all but the first recommendation of the PACFFD report. The first recommendation was that "McMaster should not commit to a full divestment from the 200 listed fossil fuel companies, but should rather pursue a number of measures as outlined below."

Reviving the Campaign

In November 2018 a group of faculty met to consider how best to revive the campaign and improve the chances of success. At this and follow-up meetings we decided to go beyond the usual call for divestment, and demand a positive alternative to investment in fossil fuels. Investment in sustainable green energy was the obvious choice and the campaign was rebranded "MacGreenInvest." A petition was launched on the platform.

The Petition

"Given the existential threat of climate change and the mandate of th university to train the generations that will be highly impacted, and given the imperative (ethical and environmental) that fossil fuel extraction must wind down rather than continue to expand, we the undersigned as that the McMaster University Board of Governors pledge to divest endowment investments from fossil fuel companies and reinvest those funds in exclusively green-energy companies within 1 year." 

The petition can be found at



Popular posts from this blog

MGI and carbon footprint