Oxford University Student Union passed a motion supporting divestment from fossil fuel companies at the first OUSU Council of term this Wednesday.Accordingly, OUSU is to make a formal request that the University “ceases to directly invest in fossil fuel companies”, with a ‘fossil fuel company’ being any company that participates in exploration and/or extraction of fossil fuel reserves.The motion was proposed by James Rainey of Balliol. Its seconder is Dan Turner, Balliol JCR President and current OULC Co-Chair. Similar motions will be presented to JCRs and MCRs in coming weeks.Amidst the general concerns about global warming, particular impetus for the motion came from an Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report last September: the report stated that cumulative carbon emissions must stay below 800 gigatons to avoid a 20C global temperature rise. The motion noted that, “Over-shooting this by just 5% increases the chance of exceeding 20C to 50%. Over 500 gigatons have already been emitted.Current fossil fuel reserves amount to nearly four times the remaining carbon budget. Therefore between 60-80% of reserves must stay in the ground.”According to some estimates, the top 200 fossil fuel companies have spent close to $700 billion in the past 12 months on exploiting currently undeveloped reserves.OUSU deemed the University to be implicated in this via investments in fossil fuel companies, which comprise around 5% of its endowment- roughly 2k per student.However, some students feel that financial matters should be kept apart from ethics. Duncan Hegan, a second year Historian, commented, “[the University] invests in fossil fuel companies because they get a good return on their money, and that benefits the students. Well maybe not students, but I like to think it does somehow. OUSU is shooting itself in the foot.”Yet OUSU council noted that there is a growing international campaign for fossil fuel divestment, with student-led campaigns in 20 UK universities including Cambridge.Turner, who seconded the motion, explained, “even if it is just a symbolic gesture, it encourages others to follow suit. There was opposition on financial grounds, but when it comes to it we can’t really put on price on an issue like this. If we get it wrong, the stakes are so high.” New College biochemist Zain Sood echoed this sentiment, “It’s the socially responsible thing to do. The campaign needs the backing of global brands, like Oxford Uni, to keep gathering momentum.”The motion also resolved to, “request that the University of Oxford releases a policy statement before the start of the new academic year setting out its view whether or not investment in fossil fuel companies can be considered ‘socially responsible’”. OUSU will request that the University “puts safeguards in place to ensure the Universitty does not indirectly invest in fossil fuel companies through any indirect investment channel.”The University manages investments through its subsidiary Oxford University Endowment Management.Several other motions were passed at OUSU Council. Students also voted for a university campaign for Fairtrade, to support local homeless charities, to condemn increased “marketisation” of Oxford. and to spend £700 attending a feminist conference.
Greggs is the most successful quick-service restaurant (QSR) brand in the eyes of consumers, and Costa the most successful coffee shop brand, according to a new study.The CGA EI/Stone & River Brand Momentum Report measures how customer opinion is changing towards businesses. It looks at factors including new openings, awareness, opinions and loyalty (see details below). It deliberately does not factor in financial performance.“Our snapshot of out-of-home eating and drinking brands reveals the names that are increasing awareness and generating loyalty and word of mouth – as well as the ones that are slipping behind in public opinion,” said Karl Chessell, business unit director for retail and food at data and research consultancy CGA.“It shows the simplicity of some of the elements of successful branding – but also how challenging it can be to achieve them on the frontline. Staying on top of consumer habits and opinions is going to be crucial if brands are to generate momentum in this ultra-competitive market, and CGA’s data can help them do so.”Costa topped the table for the coffee and food-to-go sector, with scores showing it “can still attract new consumers while keeping existing ones happy”.“Its convenience and value proposition are among the reasons for its continued impetus in the food-to-go sector,” stated the report.Second place went to the rapidly expanding Patisserie Valerie brand, which has grown from fewer than 10 stores 10 years ago to around 200 now, prompting awareness of the brand to soar.Greggs, which shifted its position away from traditional bakery to focus on food-to-go in recent years, took pole position in the QSR category. McDonald’s, which has also reinvented itself with a healthier offering, placed second.“The conclusion from the success of Greggs and McDonald’s is that businesses need to maintain investment in their customer experiences and be ready to carefully tweak their brands if they are to maintain momentum In the QSR sector. It simply isn’t an option to stand still,” stated the report.The Momentum Report reflected an industry in flux, said Alex Doman, engagement manager at consultancy Stone & River“It points to some key learnings about what it takes to build momentum: having an easy-to-understand and simple-to-deliver brand proposition, a focus on creating long-term value for the customer and targeting the older generation can all often be beneficial,” said Alex Doman, engagement manager at Stone & River.The full CGA EI/Stone & River Brand Momentum Report can be downloaded here.The report’s three key measuresAwareness TrendA measure of how consumer awareness of the brand has improved. This figure shows the percentage change in the number of consumers who are aware of the brand over the last three years. Brands whose awareness levels have increased the most score highest.Next ConsumerAn index of consumers who would consider visiting the brand in the future versus lapsed users of those businesses. Lapsed consumers is defined by people who have not visited a brand in the past six months, but who have done so in the past two years. Brands with a higher proportion of consumers who would consider visiting in the future than those who are lapsed receive higher scores.Opinion IndexA measure of how consumers’ opinions about brands are changing. Scores are based on the difference between the number of people who say their opinion of a brand has changed positively in the last year and the number who have had a negative opinion change.