Stockholm (NordSIP) – Oxford University Endownment Management (OUem), a subsidiary of the university, has partnered with BlackRock to launch a new fossil-fuel screened index fund. The new fund provides OUem with a CO2-free investment portfolio.
OUem was set up in 2009 to manage the Oxford Endowment Fund (OEF), which invests on behalf of the Oxford University’s Permanent Endowment. The fund has €4.49 billion in assets under management. OUem’s decision to exclude fossil fuel companies was announced back in May 2020 and is part of Oxford University’s ambition to avoid contributing to climate change.
“We have been working with BlackRock to develop the Fossil Fuel Screened Equity Index Fund,” OUem commented in a press release. “This relates to Oxford University’s Capital Account, which is structured to allow the University to regularly draw down from holdings. We have been working with BlackRock since May to find a vehicle which is screened for all the University’s ethical restrictions (including tobacco, illegal weapons and all fossil fuel extractors), and we are pleased that the Capital Account will now have no exposure to fossil fuel extractors.”
The new fund is based on the new MSCI World Select Fossil Fuel Screened Index developed in partnership between BlackRock and MSCI. The new index is based on the MSCI World Index and excludes companies from the parent index thatfail to comply with the UN Global Compact principles or are associated with controversial and nuclear weapons, civilian firearms, tobacco, thermal coal, oil sands, exploration and production of oil and gas and owning fossil fuel reserves.
“Investing sustainably is wholly integrated in our company culture and investment process at OUem,” said Sandra Robertson, CEO and CIO of OUem. “In the actively managed Oxford Endowment Fund – for permanent endowment – over the past 12 years, we have effectively divested from fossil fuels, and we have funded several innovative groups investing in solutions to climate change.”
“This is an outcome of an active investment process, and a long-term investment theme of resource efficiency,” she added. “We wanted to similarly design an equity index solution that reflects this ambition in the University’s Capital Account. With BlackRock, we have taken a strong policy statement and created an investment product that produces meaningful action, to invest in a more sustainable way.”