Lakehead University’s Board of Governors announces plan to divest from fossil fuel holdings

November 26, 2020 – Thunder Bay and Orillia, Ont.

At its November 26, 2020 meeting, Lakehead University’s Board of Governors approved a motion that will see the institution divest from its fossil fuel holdings by the end of the University’s current Strategic Plan in 2023.

“Our decision to divest from fossil fuel companies reflects Lakehead’s goal of becoming a leader in sustainability as reflected throughout our current Strategic Plan and Sustainability Action Plan,” said Board of Governors Chair Angela Maltese. “This move is consistent with our commitment to addressing environmental sustainability and climate change.”

Lakehead University President and Vice-Chancellor Dr. Moira McPherson applauded the Board’s decision, which follows extensive consultation with outside experts and with input from the University community.

“Lakehead University has a responsibility to be pro-active in facing the challenges associated with climate change through education, research, and its investments,” Dr. McPherson said. “I am especially proud of our students, who continue to show their commitment and leadership to addressing this global issue.”

Responsible investing nurtures the world’s transition away from the reliance on carbon-based economies by moving funds and investments to sectors and technologies that offer more sustainable options.

Maltese explained that while the divestment process is complex, the Board and the University will fulfill its commitment while adhering to their legal and fiduciary responsibilities to mitigate the potential costs for exiting funds that contain fossil fuel holdings.

Maltese added that, “While our investment portfolio’s current fossil fuel exposure is a little over 2%, it will still take time to divest properly so that our investment earnings are not impacted.”

Lakehead’s divestment strategy will be guided by its Responsible Investment Policy, a document that affirms the University’s commitment to responsible investing through consideration of Environmental, Social, and Governance factors as set out in the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investing.


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Lakehead University is a fully comprehensive university with approximately 9,700 full-time equivalent students and over 2,000 faculty and staff at two campuses in Orillia and Thunder Bay, Ontario. Lakehead has 10 faculties, including Business Administration, Education, Engineering, Graduate Studies, Health & Behavioural Sciences, Law, Natural Resources Management, the Northern Ontario School of Medicine, Science & Environmental Studies, and Social Sciences & Humanities. Lakehead University’s achievements have been recognized nationally and internationally, including being named Research Infosource's Research University of the Year in our category for the fifth consecutive year (2019); ranked, once again, among Canada’s top 10 primarily undergraduate universities in Maclean’s University Rankings 2021; as well as included in the top half of the Times Higher Education 2020 World University Rankings for the second consecutive year, and 98th among 766 universities from around the world in THE's 2020 Impact Rankings (which assesses institutions against the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals). Visit