The University of the West of Scotland provided its Ethical Investment Statement to us under freedom of information. The statement says that the university “recognises its responsibility to operate in an ethical manner and to take account of social, environmental and ethical considerations in all activities including financial investment”. The statement goes on to say that “the University will not hold any direct investments in companies involved in arms, tobacco, and pornography and in the extraction and production of oil, gas and other fossil fuels” (our emphasis).
We commend the university for excluding arms companies (and implicitly nuclear weapons producers) from direct investment. However, we have been unable to verify how this policy has been applied as the university rejected our request for a list of its investments. The response to our freedom of information request stated that “release of information relating to our spend into the public domain would be detrimental to our commercial interest as it would allow other educational institutes in direct competition with us to use this information when determining their financial business models”.
Additionally, the policy on arms companies only covers direct investments so the university may hold indirect investments in nuclear weapons producers.
If you’re a student at the University of the West of Scotland and you think that the university’s policy should be strengthened, you can contact the university’s principal. You can also contact CAAT Scotland for information about how to get involved with the CAAT Universities Network’s divestment activities: firstname.lastname@example.org.