We are continuing our series on the 7 Aspects of Divestment from Fossil Fuels, a powerful tool to combat global warming.
Name and Shame
The Carbon Underground 200 is a list of the 200 worst offenders – the top 100 public coal companies globally and the top 100 public oil and gas companies globally, ranked by the potential carbon emissions content of their reported reserves.
“The reserves of these companies total 555 gigatons (Gt) of potential CO2 emissions, almost five times more than can be burned for the world to have an 80% chance of limiting global temperature rise to 2°C (3.6° F).” (i)
One of the first steps in divestment action is to learn what you own. Whether your organization intended to or not, it likely holds investments in fossil fuel companies. For example, 8 cents of every dollar invested in the S&P 500 goes to companies on the list of the 200 largest holders of fossil fuel reserves. Many mutual funds and portfolios invest in energy, materials, or utility companies on this list. (ii)
- Name: Your organization should direct its investment advisors to examine its investment portfolio to determine what investments it holds in the top 200 listed coal, oil and gas companies, and any mutual funds and portfolios which invest in energy, materials, or utility companies on this list.
- Your organization should create a timeline (between now and 2021) over which it will sell its investments in the top 200 listed coal, oil and gas companies, and phase out any mutual funds and portfolios which invest in energy, materials, or utility companies on this list.
- Shame: Simultaneously, your organization should publicize what it is doing and why it is doing this. The public relations aspect of Divestment cannot be overlooked nor underestimated; it is every bit an integral part of the moral stand that your organization is taking.
The goal is to stigmatize the Carbon Underground companies, to render them pariahs, untouchables, outcasts. We are both casting them out of our organizations’ portfolios and joining the effort to cast them out of government discourse.
(i) from http://fossilfreeindexes.com/research/the-carbon-underground/ emphasis added
(ii) Paraphrased from Trillium Investments http://www.trilliuminvest.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/ExtractingFossilFuels.pdf