Fossil Free Hangs Out The University’s Dirty Laundry

22 March 2018

Today students from Fossil Free Melbourne University (FFMU) hung up their dirty laundry outside the Raymond Priestley building to put pressure on the University to divest from fossil fuels. The University is set to release its Sustainable Investment Framework on 28 March—a document which will determine whether the University will continue to invest in fossil fuels or not.

Fossil Free is a group with branches all around the globe, which lobbies institutions and companies to divest from fossil fuel companies. Farrago caught up with FFMU campaigner Lucy Turton to find out what the go is with the dirty clothes and washing lines.

“We’re airing some of the University’s dirty laundry today, letting students know about their investments in fossil fuels and how long the campaign’s been going to try and get them to divest. They’ve still got blood on their hands and oil on their hands, so we want them to wash their hands of the fossil fuel industry and divest,” she said.

“[The Sustainable Investment Framework] came directly out of Fossil Free’s pressure on the University to divest. After years of negotiations and speakouts and forums with students and alumni on side, the University finally decided to pass a thing called the Sustainability Charter and then out of the Charter came the Sustainability Plan.”

“Once the Charter and the Plan were released, they included a commitment to look at the University’s investments—so the Investment Management Group and the Sustainability Executive have been responsible for making the Sustainable Investment Framework. They locked us out of any information about the Investment Framework which is frustrating because they promised transparency and to involve us fully in the process.”

FFMU is known for its creative strategies in lobbying the University to divest from fossil fuels. If you were around in 2016, you may remember “Flood the Campus”—a week of direct action where students slept at the University overnight in tents, held a naked protest on top of the Old Quad, and locked on to the Raymond Priestley building.

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