The Socially Responsible Investment Engagement Working Group was established in September 2020 to recommend processes for implementing the fossil fuel portion of the College’s SRI Policy. 

The Group’s full report of recommendations is now available to download [pdf]. 

The Group has taken the view that the College’s overall approach to decarbonisation needs to be consistent, credible and joined up. As well as considering Imperial's investment policy for fossil fuel companies, setting out criteria they must meet to remain investible, the report also includes recommendations about Imperial’s policy for accepting research funding from them and reinforced the need for a strong College commitment to achieving net zero emissions. Imperial’s President’s Board has committed to implementing the report’s recommendations, but some small modifications to the process may be made as it is implemented and reviewed.

The report lays out a process for engaging with fossil fuel companies, using Imperial's world-leading expertise to engage and influence them with adopting a credible, transparent, strategic approach to achieving net zero by 2050. The College will be launching a pilot programme with a small number of fossil fuel companies in early 2022 to help refine these processes further before rolling them out more widely. 

To ensure the successful implementation and evaluation of the process, the College has established an SRI Engagement Monitoring Panel. In addition to its work on policy, the Panel will also work closely with the Partnerships Working Group and to help manage existing and new partner relationships, ensuring they meet the standards laid out in the report and the College’s Relationships Review Policy [pdf]

Further details of the Panel are listed below.  

SRI Engagement Monitoring Panel

Purpose

The purpose of the Socially Responsible Investment (SRI) Engagement Monitoring Panel is to oversee the successful implementation, ongoing delivery and evaluation of the SRI Engagement and Monitoring process, in order for the College to enact and monitor its Socially Responsible Investment Policy in relation to Fossil Fuel Companies (FFCs). The panel will achieve this through overseeing the development and coordination of monitoring tools, as well as observing and advising on the engagement process. 

Terms of Reference

The Panel will monitor and assess progress the College is making in influencing Fossil Fuel Companies (FFCs) through its research and collaborations, education programmes and influence as a world-leading university, by: 

  1. Setting and overseeing the collection and evaluation of a range of evidence/data and criteria of decarbonisation performance and future sustainable business transformation by FFCs being monitored under the Engagement and Monitoring process. 
  2. Evaluating the impact of Imperial’s decarbonisation engagement process on the behaviour and performance of FFCs in decarbonising their business to achieve Paris Agreement Targets and Net Zero by 2050. 
  3. Reviewing that the College SRI investment guidelines/exclusions are being correctly applied and discuss any evolution of the FFC investment guidelines with the Financial Strategy Director, the Endowment Team and the Endowment Board (with Council approval as required). 
  4. Recommending any warnings or actions on sanctions/distancing from FFCs not meeting required NZ-2050 decarbonisation performance, judged by the available metrics and criteria 
  5. Receiving decisions on acceptability of research funding/projects from FFCs and providing advice where necessary. Any escalation of decisions on research funding/projects should go via the Vice-Provost (Research and Enterprise) and Provost. 
  6. Advising on and assisting in the design of College-level engagement meetings with selected FFCs. 
  7. Monitoring departmental relationships with FFCs, acting in an advisory role to provide relevant data to departments and PIs who manage existing or new partnerships to align with the SRI Engagement process. 
  8. Reviewing and recommending processes and metrics to support development of educational and CPD routes to enhance FFC engagement, sustainability behaviour and performance. 
  9. Reviewing the Engagement and Monitoring process annually and update where appropriate the metric monitoring approach and FFC investment constraints in line with current sector best practice. 
  10. Ensuring SRI Engagement activity is aligned with other existing internal governance processes and groups, such as the Sustainability Strategy Committee, the Partnerships Working Group and Relationship Review Policy, and with other key stakeholders in the Imperial sustainability space, to enhance understanding and integration of this growing eco-system. 

Membership

  • Vice-Provost (Research and Enterprise) (Chair) 
  • Vice-Provost (Education and Student Experience) or delegate 
  • ICU President or ICU delegate 
  • Director of Financial Strategy 
  • Energy Futures Lab Co-Director 
  • Academic Lead for Sustainability 
  • Director of Industry Partnerships and CommercialisationFoE 
  • Academic Representative (with involvement with research with FFCs) 
  • SRI Engagement Monitoring Manager (Secretary) 
  • Student representative selected in consultation with ICU (in attendance) 

Reporting

The Panel reports to the SRI Policy Working Group (which in turn reports to President’s Board), with an annual report (and associated townhall meeting) on decisions, progress with implementation and ongoing monitoring of the College’s SRI engagement activity, as well as providing recommendations to the SRI Working Group as and when appropriate. 

The panel also has functional (dotted line) reporting to the Director of Financial Strategy and Academic lead for sustainability, with which the process must have strong alignment. 

Timelines

  • SRI Engagement and Monitoring Report to be published November 2021. 
  • The Engagement Monitoring Panel should be set up in October 2021 and develop and make public an action plan by end 2021 and oversee the appointment of the SRI Engagement Monitoring Manager by the end of 2021. 
  • SRI Engagement Monitoring webpage to be launched during Q4 2021 setting out process, action plan and details of current FFC investments and research funding. 
  • The pilot phase will run during the first Q1 2022, with the first annual report of the panel by end of 2022. 
  • The engagement and monitoring process will be reviewed, and modified if necessary, after the pilot and before applying it to other FFC companies from Q2 2022 onwards. The panel will consider the impact of the approach to extend implementation to other sectors and the broader investment portfolio beyond FFCs, and report to the SRI Working Group. 
  • The Panel will make regular reports to the SRI Policy Working Group to align with this group’s existing reporting to the President’s Board and Council (initially proposed as March and September).

SRI Engagement Working Group

The SRI Engagement Working Group was established as a task-and-finish group to develop and implement methods to monitor and assess progress the College is making in influencing fossil fuel companies through its research and collaborations, education programmes and influence as a world-leading university.  

The Group convened internal and external representation to draw on the expertise of the College community and ensure that the College’s assessment plan is benchmarked against best practice across the sector.  

The work of the SRI Engagement Working Group has been completed. 

SRI Engagement Working Group

Information

An SRI Engagement Group has been established to develop and implement methods to monitor and assess progress the College is making in influencing fossil fuel companies through its research and collaborations, education programmes and influence as a world-leading university. The SRI Engagement Group will convene internal and external representation to draw on the expertise of the College community and ensure that the College’s assessment plan is benchmarked against best practice across the sector.

The Engagement Group will make its recommendations to the SRI Working Group and to President’s Board.

Membership

Professor Geoffrey Maitland – Professor of Energy Engineering (Chair)

Geoff Maitland is Professor of Energy Engineering in the Department of Chemical Engineering. His career has spanned academia and industry, spending 20 years in oil and gas with oilfield services company Schlumberger as a research director, and over 20 years at Imperial, first as a young lecturer from 1974 to 1985 and then from 2005 in his current post. His research is concerned with how, as we transition to net-zero by reducing fossil fuel use for energy, industrial processes and hydrogen, we eliminate their carbon emissions until they are phased out by using Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS). Since 2005 he has been Director of several research programmes on decarbonisation of fossil fuels sponsored by Shell:

  • Clean Fossil Fuels Grand Challenge 2006-11
  • Qatar Carbonates and Carbon Storage Research Centre (QCCSRC) 2008-18 – jointly with Qatar Petroleum
  • Digital Rocks Programme 2016-20

Abhijay Sood – Imperial College Union President

Abhijay Sood is the elected President of Imperial College Union and is the Student Representative on Council. Abhijay is also a member of the Socially Responsible Investment Policy Group which was responsible for developing the College’s SRI Policy (launched in March 2020).  

Professor Anna Korre – Co-Director, Energy Futures Lab

Professor Anna Korre is co-Director of Energy Futures Lab and Professor of Environmental Engineering at Imperial College London. Her research focus is in the areas of modelling risk and uncertainty and the environmental and life cycle assessment of engineering systems. She has led and participated in numerous industry, UKRI, BEIS, The Crown Estate and EU funded projects developing engineering tools to assess the impacts of the minerals and energy industries in terms of operational performance, environmental footprint and cost. Anna has previously received funding from the Oil and Gas Climate Initiative (OGCI), BP, Eni, the BG Group, Scottish Power and Vattenfall to carry out life cycle assessment research. The most recent of these, with OGCI, focused on the life cycle techno-economic assessment of greenhouse gas mitigation options in the natural gas value chain and analysis of greenhouse gas emissions of global natural gas supply chains.

Alyssa Gilbert – Director of Policy and Translation, Grantham Institute for Climate Change and the Environment

Alyssa Gilbert is the Director of Policy and Translation at the Grantham Institute for Climate Change and the Environment at Imperial where she connects relevant research across the university with policy-makers and businesses to make an impact. She has a background in policy analysis as an environmental consultant.

Professor Tim Green – Co-Director, Energy Futures Lab

Tim Green is Co-director of Energy Futures Lab and Professor of Electrical Power Engineering in the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering. He has been a member of staff at Imperial since 1996. His research is in how electricity grids are to be transformed to operate with very high fractions of variable renewable generation including issues of ensuring stability and seeking new forms of flexibility to facilitate grid optimisation. He also leads collaboration across seven departments on planning low-carbon energy systems. Between 2005 and 2010 he was part of a BP-funded research project on Urban Energy Systems and between 2005 and 2006 led a BP-funded research project exploring replacing AC building supplies with low-voltage DC.

Professor Frank Kelly - Humphrey Battcock Chair of Environment and Health

Frank Kelly holds the Humphrey Battcock Chair in Community Health and Policy at Imperial, where he is Director of the Environmental Research Group, Director of the NIHR Health Protection Research Unit on Environment and Health and Deputy Director of the MRC-PHE Centre for Environment & Health. Frank leads a substantial research activity which spans all aspects of air pollution research from toxicology to science policy. He has led studies of the urban airshed within London including the impact of the introduction of London’s Congestion Charging Zone and Low Emission Zone.  He is past Chairman of the British Association for Lung Research and he has provided policy support to the WHO on air pollution issues. He has chaired COMEAP, the UK’s Department of Health & Social Care Expert Committee on the Medical Effects of Air Pollutants for the last 9 years and he is a member of the US Health Effects Institute Review Committee.

Professor Nick Jennings – Vice-Provost (Research and Enterprise)

Nick Jennings is the Vice-Provost for Research and Enterprise and Professor of Artificial Intelligence at Imperial.

Professor Patrick Bolton – Professor of Finance and Economics, Business School

Patrick Bolton is Professor at Imperial and the Barbara and David Zalaznick Professor of Business at Columbia University. He is a Co-Director of the Center for Contracts and Economic Organization at the Columbia Law School, a past President of the American Finance Association, a Fellow of the Econometric Society (elected 1993), the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (elected 2009), and a Corresponding Fellow of the British Academy (elected 2013). His areas of interest are in Contract Theory, Corporate Finance, Corporate Governance, Banking, Sovereign Debt, Political Economy, Law and Economics, and Sustainable Investing. He has written a leading graduate textbook on Contract Theory with Mathias Dewatripont, MIT Press (2005) and The Green Swan: Central Banking and Financial Stability in the Age of Climate Change, with Morgan Despres, Luiz Pereira Da Silva, Frederic Samama, and Romain Svartzman. Among the books he co-edited are Sovereign Wealth Funds and Long-Term Investing, with Frederic Samama and Joseph E. Stiglitz, Columbia University Press (2011); and Coping with the Climate Crisis: Mitigation Policies and Global Coordination, with Rabah Aretzki, Karim El Aynaoui and Maurice Obstfeld, Columbia University Press, 2018.

Professor Ralf Toumi – Co-Director, Grantham Institute for Climate Change and the Environment

Ralf Toumi is Co-Director of the Grantham Institute for Climate Change and the Environment, supported by the Grantham Foundation. Ralf has worked extensively with BP PLC on climate change adaptation from 2006-2016.

Terms of Reference

  1. To monitor and assess progress the College is making in influencing fossil fuel companies through its research and collaborations, education programmes and influence as a world-leading university.
  2. To consult with relevant internal stakeholders to review the College’s current approach to engaging with fossil fuel companies.
  3. To consider guidance from external advisors and best practice across the sector to inform how the College effectively delivers impact with its engagement.
  4. To consult with external advisors to assess fossil fuel companies’ progress towards meeting the Paris Agreement Targets.
  5. To present the proposed action plan for assessing engagement to the SRI Working Group.

Key dates

  • The Engagement Group members were appointed September 2020.
  • A College-wide consultation, which sought the views of staff, students, external stakeholders and advisors was conducted in early 2021. The SRI Group also hosted a panel event discuss the key themes of the consultation and provide a forum for staff/students to pose their own questions to key stakeholders - view a summary of the discussion [pdf].
  • The Engagement Group report and recommendations were agreed at President’s Board in July 2021.
  • The SRI Engagement Report was published in November 2021.