The Provost, Professor Malcolm Grant, University College London, Gower Street, WC1E 6BT
Copy to Sir Stephen Wall, Chair of UCL Council via Tim Perry, Secretary to UCL Council
Dear Professor Grant,
My name is and I graduated from UCL in .
I am delighted that UCL has committed to the adoption of an ethical investment policy. I am pleased that the university seems eager to further its commitment both to social responsibility and to listening to and engaging with the wishes of students.
I urge you to continue this commendable approach by ensuring that the rest of the ethical investment policy process is transparent and accessible to students and to alumni and in particular that the views of and feedback to the latter are disseminated through UCL Alumni Network channels.
I call for equal student representation on the ethical review committee, ensuring that two members of the committee are members of the student body. Further, the review committee should be obliged to report publicly on its work on a regular basis, and these reports should be widely published to students via UCL Union and to alumni via the alumni newsletter. This information should include the procedure on how to raise ethical concerns with the review committee and who the members are.
I would also like to urge you to consider including the possibility of positive investments in the future ethical investment policy in industries and companies which support and further UCL’s mission to “engage fully with the world around us”, to break new ground through challenging convention” and to “progress through partnership”.
My own decision to originally apply to study at UCL was due to its historical association as the first to admit students regardless of race, class, religion and gender. I remain proud of this and believe that if it could also establish a reputation for being a true leader in the field of ethical investment, it would encourage a sharp rise in the next generation of applicants. The benefits of UCL being seen around the world not just as ‘the global university’ but also ‘the ethical university’ seem boundless, To do this UCL will need a commitment to positive investment as mission-related investment is becoming increasingly popular among UK charitable institutions. I would like to highlight the fact that the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, writing in the International Herald Tribune on 10 November has said that the answer to the financial crises and climate change is the green economy, which will expand at an exponential rate I would consider some investments in this field as being an excellent way of ensuring that UCL continues to 'shape the future' through its investments as well as through academic excellence.
Finally, I would like to see the ethical investment policy exclude any type of investment in arms-producing companies; therefore not not only investments in arms-producing companies held directly but also those investments via managed or pooled funds.
Despite UCL’s great progress I am still dismayed at the ongoing investment in Cobham plc. I am afraid as long as these investments continue and UCL fails to make it clear that it will not invest in arms-producing companies in the future, I will be unable to support UCL financially or otherwise.I assure you that many of my fellow ex-UCL students with whom I have spoken about this also share this view.
I look forward to your response to these concerns, and to the implementation of an ethical investment policy that will allow me to restore my pride in my old university and for which I otherwise feel such a close affinity.