Quantcast

Divestment Goes Mainstream as Major Funds Kick the Fossil Fuel Habit

Climate

With a shift of nearly two billion dollars away from fossil fuels, the divestment campaign has moved into new territory.

Last week, seventeen of the world’s largest philanthropic foundations announced commitments to pull their money out of fossil fuel companies and reinvest it in the clean energy economy.

The newly formed Divest-Invest coalition urges other organizations to take an ethical stand and voice their concern for communities most vulnerable to climate change and the future of the global economy.

The announcement is seen as a signal that the divestment movement is no longer limited to progressive cities and college campuses.

Now, a wide range of some of the world’s largest foundations including the Park Foundation, Russell Family Foundation, Educational Foundation of America and John Merck Fund are taking a stand for the climate by aligning their investments with the values of their charitable missions.

This announcement is the latest in a week of news signalling that the divestment movement is going mainstream.

Speaking at this year’s World Economic Forum, World Bank President Jim Yong Kim used his high-profile platform at the World Economic Forum to endorse fossil fuel divestment.

Norway’s $815 billion sovereign wealth fund—the World’s largest—has already halved its exposure to coal producers, while a proposal to further prohibit it investing in coal companies wins support by the country’s minority parties.

Meanwhile Norwegian pension fund and insurance firm Storebrand announced last week that it too would be divesting from another 10 fossil fuels companies—having announced it had divested from 19 dirty fuel companies last year.

The firm said it aimed to reduce its exposure to the fossil fuel industry in a bid to ensure long-term stable profits.

To date, 22 cities, two counties, 20 religious organizations, nine colleges and universities and six other institutions have signed up to rid themselves of investments in fossil fuel companies.

In addition to these divestment announcements, many major banks and financial institutions have limited or halted their lending to coal projects, arguably the dirtiest of the fossil fuels.

Three of the world’s biggest public financial institutions, the European Investment Bank, World Bank, and European Reconstruction and Development Bank have committed to restrict their support for coal projects in favor of clean energy and energy efficiency.

It’s wrong to profit from wrecking the climate—and it looks bad, too.

A recent study by Oxford University found that the divestment campaign has triggered an uptick in negative perceptions of fossil fuel companies.

Fund managers who choose to continue investing in dirty energy must now face the realization that these investments could contaminate their organization’s brand and undermine its image.

Visit EcoWatch’s ENERGY page for more related news on this topic.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Matt Cardy / Stringer / Getty Images

The Guardian is changing the way it writes about environmental issues.

Read More Show Less
Blueberry yogurt bark. SEE D JAN / iStock / Getty Images Plus

By Lizzie Streit, MS, RDN, LD

Having nutritious snacks to eat during the workday can help you stay energized and productive.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
A 2017 flood in Elk Grove, California. Florence Low / California Department of Water Resources

By Tara Lohan

It's been the wettest 12 months on record in the continental United States. Parts of the High Plains and Midwest are still reeling from deadly, destructive and expensive spring floods — some of which have lasted for three months.

Mounting bills from natural disasters like these have prompted renewed calls to reform the National Flood Insurance Program, which is managed by Federal Emergency Management Agency and is now $20 billion in debt.

Read More Show Less
Jennifer A. Smith / Moment / Getty Images

By Brenda Ekwurzel

When temperatures hit the 80s Fahrenheit in May above latitude 40, sun-seekers hit the parks, lakes, and beaches, and thoughts turn to summer. By contrast, when temperatures lurk in the drizzly 40s and 50s well into flower season, northerners get impatient for summer. But when those 80-degree temperatures visit latitude 64 in Russia, as they just did, and when sleet disrupts Mother's Day weekend in May in Massachusetts, as it just did, thoughts turn to: what is going on here?

Read More Show Less
Shrimp fishing along the coast of Nayarit, Mexico. Tomas Castelazo / Wikimedia, CC BY-SA

By Paula Ezcurra and Octavio Aburto

Thousands of hydroelectric dams are under construction around the world, mainly in developing countries. These enormous structures are one of the world's largest sources of renewable energy, but they also cause environmental problems.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Activists in North Dakota confront pipeline construction activities. A Texas bill would impose steep penalties for such protests. Speak Freely / ACLU

By Eoin Higgins

A bill making its way through the Texas legislature would make protesting pipelines a third-degree felony, the same as attempted murder.

Read More Show Less
An Australian flag flutters in the wind in a dry drought-ridden landscape. Virginia Star / Moment / Getty Images

Australia re-elected its conservative governing Liberal-National coalition Saturday, despite the fact that it has refused to cut down significantly on greenhouse gas emissions or coal during its time in power, The New York Times reported.

Read More Show Less
Tree lined street, UK. Richard Newstead / Moment / Getty Images

The UK government will fund the planting of more than 130,000 trees in English towns and cities in the next two years as part of its efforts to fight climate change, The Guardian reported Sunday.

Read More Show Less