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Murray Edwards College
University of Cambridge

Environmental sustainability

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    Investment statement

    Through the generosity of donors, the College has an endowment to provide investment income to support its charitable objectives associated with learning, education and research, and maintaining a College for students to study for degrees at the University of Cambridge. 

    The College relies on external advisors to manage its investments and selects investment managers whose ethical and social responsibility policies are well developed, and whose wider policies take the College’s overall investment needs into account.

    Currently, the College holds only indirect investments – primarily through funds managed by CCLA Investment Management and the Cambridge University Endowment Fund (CUEF). 

    Read CCLA’s ethical and responsible investment statement.

    The funds under investment (as at September 2021) include:

    • £68.1m with CCLA
    • £7.7m with the CUEF
    • £2.4m in private equity 

    With regards to private equity, the College does not invest in funds that focus on companies whose activities run counter to the environmental, social and governance values of the College.

    The College’s investment with CCLA is held in CCLA’s Common Investment Fund (COIF). There are a number of restrictions that are relevant to this fund and they can be found on CCLA’s website.

    The College’s investment with the CUEF is subject to the University’s investment policy on divestment and CCLA’s investment fund mirrors this policy in three key respects:

    • COIF is not invested in conventional energy-focused companies (and has not been since April 2020)
    • COIF has built up a significant investment in renewable infrastructure holdings
    • COIF is meaningfully divested from fossil-fuel companies (defined as those companies where more than 10% of turnover relates to fossil-fuel activities). This has been the case since April 2020.

    CCLA is also a signatory to the net-zero asset managers’ initiative and has committed to transition portfolios to net-zero GHG (greenhouse gas) emissions by 2050 – in line with the 1.5 degree aligned scenario set out by the Paris Agreement. This is also the Government’s target. CCLA is keeping its current policy on net-zero GHG emissions under regular review.

    Environmental sustainability

    The College was awarded a Gold Green Impact Award in 2019 and 2020. Green Impact is the University’s environmental accreditation scheme, which encourages and supports Colleges and departments across the University to reduce their environmental impact and improve sustainability.

    Kitchen operations

    The College takes advantage of cross-College arrangements for quality-assured and well-priced items, which address sustainability, provenance and animal welfare. The College is mindful of the sustainability of local sources, good farming and fishery practices, we will provide local produce where possible.

    It is inevitable that waste will occur in making sure there is enough high-quality food available for a wide variety of dietary requirements. The College does the following to minimise waste:

    • Uses excess food in other meals (always with food safety in mind)
    • Sends the waste from people’s plates for bio-digestion, which results in the production of fuel and fertilisers
    • Provides biodegradable takeaway boxes for those who do not wish to eat in the Dome


    Energy purchasing and energy use

    The College consumes significant energy and gas each year in its operations – primarily, light ,heat and power for the College and student accommodation (including the kitchens). 

    The College tries to reduce its energy consumption as much as it can. For example, the majority of student rooms have electric heating with thermostatic controls that benefit from simplicity of operation, price of installation and ecological effectiveness.

    Much of the College has single-glazed windows, which are not thermally efficient. However, a major building maintenance objective is to replace substantial amounts of residential windows with double-glazed units. These would be more ecological and provide energy benefits.

    The College also encourages students to engage in good energy habits, including turning off lights, heating and electric appliances when they are not in use.


    Members of the College are encouraged to recycle materials wherever possible. For example, staff and Fellows are provided with a recycling bin for their office. The large bins at the back of College are also clearly labelled for recycling purposes.

    Environment Committee

    The College established an Environment Committee in November 2021. The aim of the committee is to develop and take forward an environmental sustainability strategy.