Warren Wilson to divest from fossil fuels

Staff Reports

SWANNANOA — The board of trustees for Warren Wilson College has voted unanimously to divest endowment funds from fossil fuels over the next five years, according to a news release from the college.

“We’re excited to be joining this national movement of higher education institutions taking stands about the future of the planet,” Warren Wilson President Steve Solnick said in the release. “The trustees have taken a bold step to align our investments with our core mission values.”

Among local colleges, Warren Wilson joins Brevard College in making the move. Warren Wilson’s nearly $55 million endowment will be separated from corporations listed among the Carbon Underground 200, which contains the world’s top coal, oil and gas companies.

At its fall meeting, Warren Wilson’s board also adopted a responsible investment policy. No new endowment funds will be invested in fossil fuel companies.

“There are two aspects of the responsible investment policy that are particularly exciting for me,” Alice Buhl, chair of the Warren Wilson College Board of Trustees, said in the release. “First, it gives us a principled procedure to look for positive investments that are going to be consistent with our values.

“Secondly, we are establishing a group made up of students, faculty and staff members that will advise the board’s Investment Committee about future investments and assess the impact we have already made under the new policy.”