Divestment from fossil fuels

What is Divestment from fossil fuels?  … Divestment is the opposite of investment: you can think of it like “uninvesting.”  To divest from fossil fuels means to sell all the oil and gas company stocks in your investment portfolio (or your university’s portfolio, or your faith community’s portfolio, or your city’s portfolio…).  — More about What is Divestment from Fossil Fuels?

If you are an activist trying to get a particular organization to divest, you might be interested in our post “Divestment from fossil fuels: Tips for Activists“.

The following are some of our favorite resources about divestment.

“Why divest?” … up front, while an organization is Contemplating divestment, persuading an organization to make the decision

Declarations … Most organizations don’t like to be a loner; they want to know who else, like them, has done it.  We’re not maintaining a list at our site, but these sites compile lists.  Some of the lists include hyperlinks, so you can see the text of the Declaration or the Resolution, if you are in the process of drafting one and are looking for samples.

Reinvestment … once the declaration has been made, guidance on how to Implement the decision — what to do next

  • Carlos Davidson and Cynthia Kaufman, “Is Reinvestment a Good Strategy for the Fossil Fuel Divestment Movement?,” TruthOut, 23 January 2015 — this article is important in that it highlights the social change aspect of divestment; that it’s not just about moving money around
  • Post-Carbon Institute “Don’t just divest, reinvest”  – this article is notable in that it reflects an understanding of the international Transition Movement and the economic issues highlighted by the Occupy Movement
  • GreenAmerica, “Guide to Fossil-Free Investment” (pdf) – contains a diversity of good strategies, although it doesn’t comprehend the ideas of Transition or the new economy
  • Smith, Brecher, Sheeran, “Where Should the Divestors Invest?” – gives some broad-brushed ideas emphasizing installation of energy production systems and energy efficiency devices on the organization’s own buildings
  • National Community Investment Fund, “Banking with Impact” – mission-oriented banks are an alternative to megabanks
  • Trillium Investments, “Extracting Fossil Fuels from your Portfolio” (pdf) – we list this here with the caution that it is entirely conventional-market-oriented.  For those funds which must be left inside the mainstream markets, their “Seven Pillars” concept, beginning on pdf page 13, is quite good.

7 Aspects to “Divest and Reinvest”

This is our approach …

divestment circlePeter Rood and Joanne Poyourow are writing a white paper on Divestment.  Its working title is “Divestment from Fossil Fuels, with a portfolio of Global-Warming-Fighting Solutions”.

It is oriented toward what to do after the decision to divest.  It will prompt organizations to think more broadly than simply moving money from fossil investments into “something else.”  It will guide organizations toward resilience-building action, orient them to better cope with the Triple Crisis, plus support the building of the new economy.

In taking a serious position in the fight against global warming, it is every bit as important for your organization to change its messaging – internally to programs, parishes, and membership, and externally to the public at large – as it is to figure out where to put investment dollars. Divestment is simultaneously a public education project, a public-relations project, a political act, a money-management decision, and a manifestation-in-action of our spiritual commitment to the future of the earth and its people.

In the following pages, we will outline seven aspects of divestment. This is not a buffet menu of choices. Doing one or two and abandoning the others is not sufficient. Each of these seven aspects is equally important; each plays a significant part in an integrated whole.

Our approach emphasizes Changing investments + changing culture.  It uses a seven-fold approach, which includes:

  1. Name and Shame
  2. Move Our Money
  3. On-Campus Energy Programs
  4. Renewable Energy
  5. Greener market funds
  6. Cultivate Culture Change
  7. Sacred Public Witness

We will have blog posts explaining each item this list coming online really soon.  Subscribe to the Change-Making blog (https://www.change-making.com/feed/) if you want updates.

We’ll also post on our blog when the white paper is done, and make it available as a free pdf.  Anticipated completion date = Summer 2015.