If you are serious about tackling climate change then this group may be of interest to you The fossil fuel industry is more focused on making profit than protecting the planet so the divestment is aimed at starving them of the life blood they depend on - money and investments. Please feel free to contribute blogs on local action groups, links to helpful organisations, information & advice on consultations, and news on comments made by influential bodies & persons.
What is divestment? Divestment is simply the opposite of investment. While investment means buying stocks, bonds or other investments in order to generate financial returns, divestment means getting rid of particular stocks, bonds or investment funds that are unethical or morally dubious. Fossil fuel divestment means to avoid direct ownership of, or commingled funds that include, public equities and corporate bonds of fossil fuel companies. There are 200 publicly-traded companies that hold the vast majority of listed coal, oil and gas reserves.
Can divestment work? There have been a handful of successful divestment campaigns in recent history, including those targeting violence in Darfur, tobacco advertising, and others, but the largest and most impactful one came to a head around the issue of South African Apartheid. By the mid-1980s, 155 campuses – including some of the most famous in the country – had divested from companies doing business in South Africa. 26 state governments, 22 counties, and 90 cities, including some of the nation’s biggest, took their money from multinationals that did business in the country. The South African divestment campaign helped break the back of the Apartheid government and usher in an era of democracy and equality.
Who is divesting? In the case of the fossil fuel industry the movement involves actions by universities, city and town councils, charities, pension funds, businesses organisations and individuals to move their investments to more ethical institutions. The divestment campaign in fossil fuels started in America and has been picked up by many US universities. In the UK Glasgow and Bedfordshire Universities have agreed to divest and many other student bodies are campaigning for the same. Oxford City Council was recently followed by Bristol to exclude fossil fuels in its investments. Of course Individuals can move their money from their current banks and this will in turn get banks to reconsider their investments in the fossil fuel industry. The 5 big UK banks including HSBC, Barclays, Lloyds, RBS and Santander have investments in fossil fuels to the tune of £66bn. Click here for a list for divestment commitments as compiled by Fossil Free