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

A baby burrowing owl perched outside its burrow on Marco Island, Florida. LagunaticPhoto / iStock / Getty Images Plus

Burrowing owls, which make their homes in small holes in the ground, are having a rough time in Florida. That's why Marco Island on the Gulf Coast passed a resolution to pay residents $250 to start an owl burrow in their front yard, as the Marco Eagle reported.

Read More
Amazon and other tech employees participate in the Global Climate Strike on Sept. 20, 2019 in Seattle, Washington. Amazon Employees for Climate Justice continue to protest today. Karen Ducey / Getty Images

Hundreds of Amazon workers publicly criticized the company's climate policies Sunday, showing open defiance of the company following its threats earlier this month to fire workers who speak out on climate change.

Read More
Sponsored
Locusts swarm from ground vegetation as people approach at Lerata village, near Archers Post in Samburu county, approximately 186 miles north of Nairobi, Kenya on Jan. 22. "Ravenous swarms" of desert locusts in Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia threaten to ravage the entire East Africa subregion, the UN warned on Jan. 20. TONY KARUMBA / AFP / Getty Images

East Africa is facing its worst locust infestation in decades, and the climate crisis is partly to blame.

Read More
The Antarctic Peninsula on Feb. 28, 2019. Daniel Enchev / Flickr

By Dan Morgan

Antarctica is the remotest part of the world, but it is a hub of scientific discovery, international diplomacy and environmental change. It was officially discovered 200 years ago, on Jan. 27, 1820, when members of a Russian expedition sighted land in what is now known as the Fimbul Ice Shelf on the continent's east side.

Read More
The seafood market in Wuhan, China that has been linked to the spread of the new coronavirus. HECTOR RETAMAL / AFP via Getty Images

China banned its trade in wild animals Sunday until the new coronavirus, which was linked to a market in Wuhan where wildlife was sold, is eradicated. Now, conservationists are calling on the country to make the ban permanent.

Read More