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Liverpool Guild of Students Ethical Policy Working Group (EPWG)

Progress Report - 5th December 2008

EPWG is currently working in collaboration with members of staff, the University’s lecturers union and student representative officers to achieve the following:

Action Points:


Work towards a definition of ethical investment (EI) applicable to LGoS and the University – by examining the investment portfolios and EI policies of universities that provide leading examples of EI best practice


Set criteria to define companies and industries deemed appropriate and acceptable for investment


Produce company profiles for current university investments considered to be of concern


Raise cross campus awareness of EI and circulate petitions to staff and students in order to gauge level of support



Identified Methods:


Screening and exclusion – defining unacceptable investments and excluding them from the University’s investment portfolio


Preference – ranking companies in terms of their positive and negative impacts on society and the environment


Positive/socially responsible investment (SRI) – identifying companies and industries that make positive and sustainable contributions to society and the environment e.g. the educational sector (appropriate for a university)


Campaign Against the Arms Trade (CAAT):

EPGW have arranged a workshop with Sam Walton, the Universities Network Coordinator for CAAT, to discuss the group’s best course of action. The meeting is to be held on 8th December 2008 and will be followed by a public seminar to raise awareness, stimulate debate and circulate a petition of support.

NUS:

At their second meeting, on 5th December 2008, LGoS Student Council passed the following motion which will be debated at the NUS annual conference in Easter ’09 (there is the opportunity to make amendments)


Motion: Strong and Active Unions - Ethical Investment


Conference believes:

1. A number of leading-research intensive universities have investments in large multinational corporations.

2. BAE, British American Tobacco, GlaxoSmithKline, BP, Shell Transport and Wyeth are common investors in university shares.


Conference further believes

1. After prolonged battles, students in Edinburgh; East Anglia; St Andrews, amongst others, have achieved major success in their campaigns to get their universities to adopt ethical investment policies.

2. Student activist groups; notably P&P and Amnesty are crucial to any Ethical Investment Campaign.

3. Identical Early Day Motions (EDM) have been submitted in both the Scottish and UK Parliaments. The EDM “calls on other universities in the UK to develop similar policies based on the shared values of their staff and students.”

4. Effective campaigning unions are also there for educational advancement. Students’ unions have the power to bring together academics and students to effectively define what ‘ethical’ means to students and the NUS.

Conference Resolves

1. That NUS works alongside unions and pressure groups to collectively define what is meant by ‘ethical’ investment.

2. That NUS lobby universities to adopt socially responsible investment (SRI) policies that restrict investment in companies that have a negative impact on society; encouraging investment in positive industries

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