In March of 2015, McGill released much more comprehensive information about its ties to the fossil fuel industry. The three attachments contain information about fossil fuel industry donations to McGill as well as its industry-funded research grants. In addition, although McGill’s investments are publicly available, McGill released for the first time a list of holdings it considers part of the fossil fuel industry. This informs the community what McGill believes a divestment scenario would involve as of December 31st, 2014.
Here is the text of the request made to McGill.
I) An accounting of all shares held by McGill University (or related entities) of companies that have a principal business involved in the extraction, processing or, production of fossil fuels. The accounting shall include share type, share number, and corporate name;
II) An accounting of all shares held in the personal account of Principal Suzanne Fortier of companies that have a principal business involved in the extraction, processing or production of fossil fuels. The accounting shall include share type, share number, and corporate name; and
III) An accounting of all financial donations, contributions, grants, bursaries, scholarships and any other financial transfer received by McGill University, its staff in their professional capacities, or related entities from companies that have a principal business involved in the extraction, processing or production of fossil fuels. The accounting shall include corporate name, the monetary value of said financial transfer, and underlying purpose of said financial transfer.”
McGill released the three documents with the following statement and explanation:
“Regarding the first part of your request, please note that the list of McGill’s investment holdings is publicly accessible on McGill’s website. You may access this information by following this URL link: http://www.mcgill.ca/investments/holdings. This notwithstanding, we are able to provide you with a list of publicly traded equity holdings held by McGill University from companies which might derive their incomes from the fossil fuel industry, as at December 31, 2014. The list includes the type of industry under which each corporation is classified, the corporations’ names and the number of shares held by McGill for each corporation. Please note that this list does not include McGill’s holdings in pooled funds. McGill University does not hold documents regarding pooled funds that correspond to your request.
Regarding the second part of your request, McGill University does not possess any documents regarding the shares that Principal Suzanne Fortier may hold. McGill does not have any “personal account” containing any information described in this portion of your request.
Regarding the third part of your request, we are able to provide you with a list of donations received by the office of University Advancement from companies “that have a principal business involved in the extraction, processing or production of fossil fuels,” and a list of research grants received from companies “that have a principal business involved in the extraction, processing or production of fossil fuels.” Both lists are records of information from April 1, 2008, to the date of your request.
Please be advised that the documents you are requesting contain confidential “industrial, financial, commercial, scientific, technical or union information” and/or information supplied by third persons, the disclosure of which “would likely hamper negotiations in view of a contract, result in losses for the third person or in considerable profit for another person or substantially reduce the third person’s competitive margin.” Consequently, as required by sections 25 and 49 of the Act (appended for your reference), we notified the third parties in question. We have since been advised by certain third parties that they consent to the release of the documents subject to certain redactions. Accordingly, pursuant to sections 23 and 24 of the Act (appended), we have redacted the documents according to the responses of the third parties.”
The redacted sections came from Imperial Oil, who nonetheless released many of their research contracts, available here: