Unity College signs global pact on climate change

America’s Environmental College joins 379 signers that control $24 trillion in assets

UNITY, Maine – Unity College is now a signatory to the Global Investor Statement on Climate Change.

The international call for climate policy was drafted and launched in September 2014 by a coalition of international investment groups and United Nations finance officials.

The statement has been signed thus far by 379 investors representing more than $24 trillion in assets, and comes just weeks before major UN-sponsored climate talks in Paris.

“Signing this document is one of an array of actions Unity College is taking to lead the way toward sustainability as America’s Environmental College,” President-elect Dr. Melik Peter Khoury said. “That includes designing and building next-generation residence halls that cut carbon use, purchasing carbon offsets from renewable sources, divesting our endowment portfolio from the Top 200 fossil fuel companies, sourcing more of our food consumption locally, and more.”

Any organization or institution that invests can sign the document. Signatories must identify their low-carbon investments and must continue to report on actions taken to address climate risk. The statement calls on governments to do the same.

Signatories “are acutely aware of the risks climate change presents to our investments,” the document reads, recognizing “significant capital will be needed to finance the transition to a low-carbon economy and to enable society to adapt to the physical impacts of climate change.”

The statement was drafted by collaboration from six organizations: the Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change, the Asia Investor Group on Climate Change, the Ceres Investor Network on Climate Risk, the Investor Group on Climate Change Australia/New Zealand, the United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative, and the United Nations-supported Principles for Responsible Investment.

Signers pledge to work with policy makers to support efforts to develop and implement financing for the transition to a low-carbon economy, and that encourage investment in climate change adaptation. Other parts of the pledge require institutions to identify and evaluate low-carbon investment opportunities that meet their investment criteria, develop capacity to assess risks and opportunities presented by climate change, work with companies they invest in to ensure they minimize and disclose the risks and maximize the opportunities of climate change, and more.

“This statement signals that investors worldwide, including institutions of higher education, understand the urgency of this issue and want to see more governmental leadership across the globe,” Unity College Sustainability Director Jennifer DeHart said. “Unity College is proud to count itself among global leaders in effecting positive solutions to the challenge of climate change.”

Unity College President Dr. Stephen Mulkey, one of Maine’s leading experts in climate change, will moderate a discussion sponsored by the Georges River Land Trust titled “Climate Change and Our Economy: A Positive Vision for Maine in an Era of Rapid Climate Change,” at the Strand Theatre in Rockland, 6:30 to 8 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 5.

Mulkey will moderate a panel of Maine ecological leaders who will provide their perspectives on climate change solutions for Maine’s future. Call (207) 594-5166 or visit http://www.georgesriver.org/event/climate-change-summit/.

About Unity College
Unity College proudly celebrates its 50th year in 2015. The first institution of higher education in the nation to divest from fossil fuel investments, Unity is committed to educating the next generation of environmental professionals. Sustainability science lies at the heart of its educational mission, with 16 environmentally focused undergraduate majors. For more information, visit unity.edu.

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