University of Edinburgh goes big on green investment after HSBC tie-up

The University of Edinburgh has invested some £5 million in green projects after becoming the first institution in the UK to sign up to a new HSBC initiative.
Edinburgh University Old College quad. Picture: Neale SmithEdinburgh University Old College quad. Picture: Neale Smith
Edinburgh University Old College quad. Picture: Neale Smith

The banking giant’s Green Deposits programme enables organisations to invest directly in environmentally friendly projects that promote the transition to a low-carbon economy.

The bank uses funds deposited exclusively in green businesses and projects such as renewable energy, energy efficiency initiatives, sustainable land use, clean transport and biodiversity.

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Initially, 100 per cent of the university’s investment will finance renewable energy businesses, but HSBC said it expects this to change as time progresses and a wider range of projects are identified.

Dave Gorman, director for social responsibility and sustainability at the University of Edinburgh, said: “Investing in organisations that promote the transition to a low-carbon, climate-resilient and sustainable economy is a key way in which the university can act on evidence from our own world-class research.

“The university has invested more than £150m in low carbon technology, climate-related research and businesses that directly benefit the environment since 2010. Through our investments we intend to deliver multiple benefits for society, the economy and the environment,” he added.

Karen Armstrong, head of education at HSBC global liquidity and cash management, said: “Many organisations struggle to directly invest in green initiatives but want to follow ethical investment strategies.

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“This approach enables them to do this transparently. The University of Edinburgh is at the vanguard of sustainable investment in the UK higher education sector.”

She added: “Sustainability has long been a focus for universities and their students. Facilities such as this continue our backing of education institutions and supports them with their renewed focus on playing a vital part in a more sustainable future.”

Entering the HSBC Green Deposits programme is the latest action taken by the university to make its investments more socially and environmentally responsible.

In July, the institution scored an “A” grade by the United Nations-supported Principles for Responsible Investment, the world’s leading proponent of responsible investment. Edinburgh was the first university in Europe to sign the UN Principles for Responsible Investment seven years ago.

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