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British Royal Institutions Announce Fossil Fuel Divestment

Two of Britain’s leading professional associations — the Royal Society of Arts and the Royal College of Emergency Medicine — announced last week to mark the first-ever London Climate Action Week that they will completely divest from fossil fuel investments. 

Two of Britain’s leading professional associations — the Royal Society of Arts and the Royal College of Emergency Medicine — announced last week to mark the first-ever London Climate Action Week that they will completely divest from fossil fuel investments.

Image courtesy Medact

The London Climate Action Week is being held between the 1st and 8th of July in response to London Mayor Sadiq Khan’s declaration of a climate emergency. With continued grassroots action keeping climate and fossil fuel dangers in the forefront of everyone’s minds, two of Britain’s leading professional associations committed to divesting from fossil fuel investments.

The Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce, better known as the Royal Society of Arts (RSA), announced that it had taken steps to work with its fund managers, CCLA Investment Management, to divest its already limited exposure to fossil fuels completely from all remaining investments in oil and gas firms.

First formed in 1754 by William Shipley, an English artist, social reformer, and inventor, the RSA has boasted notable past fellows such as Charles Dickens, Benjamin Franklin, Stephen Hawking, Nelson Mandela, and David Attenborough. Dedicating to “[enriching] society through ideas and action,” and is backed by 29,000 Fellows.

Boasting a less illustrious or lengthy history, the Royal College of Emergency Medicine (RCEM) dates back to 1967, and has committed to sell all fossil fuel investments formerly held in its £1.3 million ($1.5 million) portfolio “in response to the worsening climate emergency.”

“The Royal College of Emergency Medicine is proud to mark London Divestment Day by joining the institutions taking action against climate change by divesting of its holdings in fossil fuel companies,” said Gordon Miles, Chief Executive of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine. “We call on all asset owners to consider carefully selling their fossil fuel shares and including sustainable companies or indexes into their long-term investment strategies.”

The RCEM also highlighted other divestment initiatives taken by London-based local authorities, universities, and medical colleges, that together hold £36 billion ($45.1 billion) in investments held in endowments and pension funds. Specifically, these associations have divested £13.2 million (9%, $16.53 million) from the £153.6 million ($192.40 million) Medical Royal College portfolios, £4.2 billion (12%, $5.26) of £34.5 billion ($43.22 billion) local authority pension funds, £460 million (42%, $576.2 million) of £1.1 billion ($1.38 billion) in university endowments, and £12.2 billion ($15.28 billion) in religious institution funds.

Further, the RCEM highlighted its place in the larger movement of global healthcare institutions to divest from fossil fuels, which it claims as resulted in divestments worth £274 million ($343.22 million).

“The climate crisis, fuelled by the fossil fuel industry, has brought us to the point of a public health emergency – so it is very fitting for us, as emergency medicine practitioners, to be taking this action,” said Dr Zoe Steley, an Emergency Medicine (EM) registrar and member of Medact, a public health charity. “I’m thrilled that RCEM have taken institutional initiative and are showing climate leadership. In A+E, our job is to triage, prioritise and be caring in a pragmatic and decisive way. Divesting from fossil fuel companies lines up with this ethos.”

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I'm a Christian, a nerd, a geek, and I believe that we're pretty quickly directing planet-Earth into hell in a handbasket! I also write for Fantasy Book Review (, and can be found writing articles for a variety of other sites. Check me out at for more.


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