The global divestment movement has topped $2.6 trillion, according to an announcement made Tuesday in New York.
Representatives from the global financial, faith, and environmental spaces met in New York on Tuesday to announce that, to date, 430 institutions and 2,040 individuals across 43 countries and representing $2.6 trillion in assets have committed to divest from fossil fuel companies. These figures are impressive, but are even more so when you consider that only last September, during Climate Week, Arabella Advisors reported that 181 institutions and 656 individuals representing over $50 billion in assets had committed to divest.
This represents a fifty-fold increase in commitments to fossil fuel divestment only three months before the December 2015 Paris UN climate negotiations.
Divestment is “Catching Fire”
“If these numbers tell us anything, it’s that the divestment movement is catching fire,” said May Boeve, Executive Director of 350.org.
“Since starting on the campuses of a few colleges in the U.S., this movement has struck a chord with people across the world who care about climate change, and convinced some of the largest and most influential institutions in the world to begin pulling their money out of climate destruction. That makes me hopeful for our future, and it’s sending a clear message to world leaders as they head into Paris: It’s time for them to follow suit, and divest our governments from fossil fuel companies too.”
The new Arabella Advisors report (PDF) highlights just how far the global divestment movement has come.
According to the global coalition of representatives from the financial, faith, and environmental sectors who met on Tuesday, the number of commitments to divest include governments and investors from 43 countries, multiple sectors, and include pension funds, health, education, philanthropy, faith, entertainment, climate justice, and municipalities.
The announcement comes following some relatively big divestment announcements, including:
A move by the California State Assembly that forces the state’s two largest pension funds — the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) and the California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS) — to divest their holdings in thermal coal. This announcement came not long after a report by Trillium Asset Management which found that the two pension funds had lost over $5 billion over the last year due to investments in the top 300 fossil fuel companies.
Georgetown University announced in June that it intended to divest from all coal mining businesses, saying that “the University will not make or continue any direct investments of endowment funds [worth $1.5 billion as of April 30, 2015] in” companies “whose principal business is the mining of coal for use in energy production.”
Other recent and notable divestment commitments (as highlighted by Divest-Invest on Tuesday) included the Norway Pension Fund, the Canadian Medical Association, the World Council of Churches, the University of California system, the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation, the KR Foundation, Leonardo DiCaprio and the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation.
CleanTechnica has been following the global divestment movement for some time now, including a number of divestment pledge announcements over the past 18 months.