Edinburgh University has rejected calls to pull its investments from fossil fuels, saying it will seek to change the behaviour of companies it invests in.
The university said instead it would pull investments from the most polluting fuels, coal and “tar sands” if there were realistic alternative sources of energy available and the companies involved were not investing in technology to cut carbon emissions.
Environmental campaigners criticised the university for missing a “clear opportunity” to take a moral lead on tackling climate change.
Edinburgh issued the statement on its changed fossil fuel investment policy in the face of a growing campaign to “divest” from such fuels, which has seen universities including Glasgow and SOAS in London withdrawing investment.
The institution said it would work with companies to reduce their emissions and continue, through research and teaching, to help develop alternative energy sources and technology which captures and stores carbon emissions from power plants.
It also said it would seek to change the behaviour of the companies in which it invests, both in fossil fuels and other sectors, by requiring them to report on their emissions and by benchmarking them against best performance in their sector.
In addition, the university will prioritise low or zero-carbon investments by identifying and replacing investments with lower carbon alternatives were available.