Fossil Free Mac
The campus-wide movement for divestment from fossil fuels
Macalester has extensive investments that directly support the fossil fuel industry. It's time to change that.
Macalester directly supports the very sources of dirty energy that they publicly condemn in their marketing materials and messaging. In doing this, they undermine the values that they claim are core to the institution — service to society and the championing of a global perspective. We call on the administration of Macalester to right this wrong and divest from the fossil fuel industry to support causes that better support their ethical mission.
The widespread dominance of fossil fuels in the energy industry threatens our already fragile climate and necessitates a rapid transition to cleaner energy sources. This industry endangers the future of the planet and disrupts historically disadvantaged communities through the destruction of sacred sites, drying up of aquifers, and the posioning of air and soil. And while all of this is happening, renewable energy sources are set to be cheaper than fossil fuels by 2020 — while their profitability continues to rise.
The time to divest is now. In the short term, we encourage Macalester to place a moratorium on new oil and gas partnerships and commit to allowing the existing contracts to expire. In the long term, we support fully aligning our endowment with Macalester's values.
Got questions? We have answers.
We understand that the issue of divestment can be a confusing one, so we assembled a list of the most common questions that people have on the issue. If you have a question that we don't answer here, feel free to run it by us through our contact form.
What is this campaign about?

The ultimate goal of Fossil Free Mac is to encourage Macalester to take steps towards aligning their investments with the college's values. The immediate issue that we are currently focusing on is the $40 million in private partnerships that Macalester has with the oil and gas industry. These investments help fund fossil fuel development projects that threaten our already fragile environment and disrupt the land of historically disadvantaged communities. This is an issue that concerns the future of the planet the pursuit of environmental justice.

In the long term, we hope to achieve a holistic vision of sustainability at Macalester, both on campus and in our investing strategy. Macalester has been a regional leader in on-campus sustainability initiatives, and making our financial portfolio more sustainable is an obvious next step if we are to take this global problem seriously.

Will divestment be financially detrimental?

An increasing amount of evidence shows that fossil fuel investments are becoming increasingly risky as the fiscal performance of clean energy companies continues to improve. This can be clearly seen through an Arabella Advisors Global Divestment Report, which found that over the past 10 years, the largest 100 coal and the largest 100 gas reserve owners found a median cumulative return of negative 10 percent. In the same period of time, the 200 largest public clean energy companies experienced a return of 106 percent. We have asked Macalester for a financial impact analysis of divestment but they have yet to perform one for us.

One threat that this may pose to Macalester's financial security is the very real possibility of our current investments becoming stranded assets — a situation that becomes more likely as time goes on. As Professor Lord Stern of the London School of Economics put it, "Smart investors can see that investing in companies that rely solely or heavily on constantly replenishing reserves of fossil fuels is becoming a very risky decision."

In essence, the sooner divestment is achieved the lower these financial risks become. As such, we encourage Macalester's administration to reallocate our investments to safer long-term options.

When and where do you meet?

We meet every Tuesday at 9pm in room 206 in the campus center (second floor). Everybody is welcome to join this amazing group of people and help fight for a great cause. There's a place here for everyone, no matter what your skills are. You can click here to get directions to where we meet.

Any changes to our typical meeting location will be communicated through our mailing list, which you can join by filling out the text box at the very bottom of this page.

What actions are being taken?

Fossil Free Mac regularly holds events on campus to address the issue, attends and promotes environmental justice events and groups, works with the administration to advance the goal of a responsible investment portfolio, and much more. We are highly receptive to the ideas of group members and their thoughts on how to best achieve the goal of divestment.

In late 2017, we submitted our proposal to Macalester's Social Responsibility Committee, outlining the reasons why we believe divestment to be the most prudent course of action. The more members we have, the better chance we have of achieving our important goal.

What companies has Macalester invested in?

The private nature of the partnerships that Macalester has with the oil and gas industry means that we cannot see the specific companies or projects that they are invested in. This lack of transparency makes it difficult to answer questions about the details of their investments. Simply put: we don't know because they can't tell us.

However, we do know the tremendously negative impact that the fossil fuel industry has had on our planet. And as climate change is an issue that disproportionately impacts the poor, it is the most vulnerable among us that will suffer the most. Macalester's investments directly support this injustice and as such must be redirected towards causes that support their stated mission of social responsibility and global citizenship.

Macalester has $40 million in private partnerships with the fossil fuel industry.
In the Fall 2016 semester, members of Fossil Free Mac met with Macalester's Chief Investment Officer (Gary Martin) and the Vice President of Administration and Finance (David Wheaton). This meeting revealed that Macalester's investments include $40 million in private oil and gas partnerships.
While Macalester will not reveal the specific pipeline projects that they have stake in, we do know the tremendous consequences that these projects have. The EPA found that this method of oil extraction generates more greenhouse gases than more conventional extraction methods, and pipelines could threaten the drinking water of nearby communities while damaging land considered sacred by Native American tribes.
Macalester's complicity in this issue directly conflicts with the college's stated mission of global citizenship, which advocates for responsible stewardship of the Earth and all who reside in it. In light of this fact, we urge Macalester to place a moratorium on new direct oil and gas partnerships and commit to allowing existing partnerships to expire without renewal.
On Thursday, April 5th 2018, the SRC unanimously voted to endorse our proposal to place a moratorium on existing contracts that the college has with fossil fuel companies. Now the proposal has been forwarded to the Board of Trustees, who will vote to determine the final decision. You can view their report as well as President Brian Rosenberg's response below.
Each dot represents one million dollars invested in oil and gas partnerships
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Meetings every Tuesday at 9pm in room 215 of the campus center
In order to achieve this important goal, we're going to need all the help we can get. There's a lot to do, and the more people we have on our side the better. Come join an amazing group of people and help fight for a great cause. There's a place here for everyone, no matter what your skills are and how much time you have available to help out. If you have any questions at all, you can send us a message or just come down to a meeting to ask us in person!