The University of York has announced it no longer holds investments in companies that primarily make or sell weapons and defence-related products or services.

The decision follows calls by members of its community to cut these investment ties and renew the University's commitments to its mission of public good.

The changes to the responsible investment statement were made in partnership with the University's Student Unions.

The statement, which aligns the University's investments in support of the UN's Sustainable Development Goals, explains that York does not and will not invest in companies whose primary activity is tobacco, gambling, adult entertainment or predatory lending.


It builds on the previous commitments in 2019 to no longer hold investments in fossil fuel companies. 

The renewed statement confirms that the University does not invest in companies whose primary activities are: oil/gas, tar sands, thermal coal, shale oil/gas, mining, cluster bombs and landmines, tobacco, armaments and defence, gambling, adult entertainment and predatory lending.

University of York Vice-Chancellor, Professor Charlie Jeffery, said: “I'm very proud York has evolved our investment strategy in this way, in line with our values as a University for public good. 

“Our students in particular have raised their concerns about responsible investment and corporate links to armaments and defence, and they have rightly and passionately challenged us to rethink our approach.”

Pierrick Roger, Students' Union President from 2022 to 2024, added: “This issue is so important to our students. The University has not only listened, but has constructively involved us to ensure their new approach addresses our concerns. For a University that prides itself on its values, divesting from these destructive industries is a key step towards taking these responsibilities more seriously.”

The university publishes an annual statement on its endownment investments on its website.

A spokesperson declined to comment on its previous investments, including who with and when any such investments were disposed of.