STIRLING Students’ Union has claimed a victory after the University of Stirling became the latest organisation in Scotland to commit to ending investment in fossil fuel companies.

It has become the ninth Scottish organisation to make such a commitment, joining a group of 71 others across the UK.

The university said the move would “help the university ensure it continues to embed sustainability at the core of its business practices”.

The students’ union has been campaigning for the university to remove any fossil fuel investments from its portfolio. In a statement it said that joining the 71 others would see fossil fuel companies deprived of £11 billion of potential investment.

University of Stirling principal and vice-chancellor, professor Gerry McCormac, said: “We’ve always taken our commitment to environmental sustainability seriously – both on our campus and around the world.”

Union president Astrid Smallenbroek said: “With the students’ union’s continuing focus and commitment to sustainability, we are incredibly pleased to see the university taking action as a direct result of student feedback.”

Scientists have said the primary cause of the dangerous temperature rises we have seen is the burning of fossil fuels and divestment is increasingly seen as a powerful way to build support for the move to a fossil-free, sustainable economy.

Ric Lander, divestment campaigner for Friends of the Earth Scotland (FoES), added: “Students and staff at Stirling should be proud of their efforts encouraging the university to take this important step to protect our planet. Divesting from fossil fuels is a practical way for public-spirited organisations to take action on climate change.

“This announcement sends a statement to the world, that we do not want oil, gas and coal companies and the pollution they create in our communities.”

A report this week showed fossil fuel companies were spending just 1% of their capital investments in green alternatives.

Stirling University joins other high-profile divestment commitments including the University of Edinburgh, New York City and local councils in London.

But FoES have confirmed that 34 of Scotland’s MPs have pledged support for divestment from fossil fuels of the Westminster Pension Fund.

Falkirk Pension Fund, which serves the Stirling area, has committed to investing in line with global agreements on climate change, but still retains significant investments in fossil fuels.

Jon Preston, from Divest Falkirk, which is trying to change this, welcomed the Stirling move and added: “We are urging other institutions to show leadership and follow suit by divesting the Westminster Pension Fund, the Scottish Government Pension Fund and the Falkirk Pension Fund.”