Divestment News Round-Up

Since we started working on our own fossil fuel divestment in January 2013 and urged zoos and aquariums to do the same, divestment has become a hot topic. It has grown from its roots in college campuses and expanded into foundations, religious institutions, the medical industry, and even the mainstream financial sector. New developments highlight that our investments have the power to shape the future. Here is a round-up of some of the latest divestment news.

- Stanford University announced it will divest from coal.

- The world’s biggest fund manager, Blackrock, and global index provider FTSE have teamed up with US environmental charity Natural Resources Defense Council to launch a set of new fossil-free indices in what the Financial Times describes as “a sign that a global campaign against fossil fuels is entering the financial mainstream”.

- Influential leaders are publicly supporting divestment, including Archbishop Desmond Tutu, World Bank Chief Jim Yong Kim, and the UN Climate Change Secretary Christina Figueres.

- A major player in this movement is Harvard University, with its $32 billion endowment. Events surrounding divestment at Harvard seem to be escalating: around 100 faculty wrote an open letter to Harvard's president in support of divestment, and a student protest calling for open dialogue on divestment resulted in the arrest of one student.

- One of the goals of the divestment movement is to get people talking about climate change. It's safe to say that this has been accomplished: divestment has been written about in mainstream publications such as Rolling Stone, The Guardian, Institutional Investor, the Washington Post and many more. In light of the public health risks associated with climate change, the British Medical Journal (BMJ) recently encouraged the medical industry to divest from fossil fuels.

How does this connect to conservation? We know that climate change is expected to put many species at risk of extinction, making it a pressing concern for all conservationists and conservation organizations. Our investments matter: it makes no sense to be committed to species conservation, yet remain invested in a product that accelerates climate change. Divestment is a powerful way to call out the danger of continuing with business-as-usual fossil fuel usage, and to publicly commit to supporting the necessary-if difficult-transition away from fossil fuels.

CBSG is proud to be working toward 100% divestment and as of this year, we're over halfway there. The opportunities for divestment continue to grow, while the reasons to remain invested in fossil fuels shrink. Divestment isn't easy, and it won't happen overnight, but all it takes is one brave step to get the ball rolling. Learn more about divestment here.