The movement to divest from fossil fuels and invest in renewable energy and climate solutions has exploded, growing 50-fold in just one year and topping $2.6 trillion, according to a new analysis released today.
More than 400 institutions and 2,000 individuals have pledged to divest from fossil fuels, the report from Arabella Advisors found. These commitments include governments and investors from 43 countries and multiple sectors, including pension funds, health, education, philanthropy, faith, entertainment, climate justice and municipalities.
Recent notable commitments include the California Public Employees’ Retirement System, 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.
“Climate change is severely impacting the health of our planet and all of its inhabitants, and we must transition to a clean energy economy that does not rely on fossil fuels, the main driver of this global problem,” said actor and environmentalist Leonardo DiCaprio, who announced his commitment today. “After looking into the growing movement to divest from fossil fuels and invest in climate solutions, I was convinced to make the pledge on behalf of myself and the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation. Now is the time to divest and invest to let our world leaders know that we, as individuals and institutions, are taking action to address climate change, and we expect them to do their part this December in Paris at the U.N. climate talks.”
Recent financial analyses from HSBC, Citigroup, Mercer, Bank of England and the International Energy Agency all indicate a significant, quantifiable risk to portfolios exposed to fossil fuel assets.
“The Arabella Report shows that more and more investors are reducing their carbon risk today and diversifying their portfolios with the goal to harness the upside in the sustainable clean growth industries of the future,” said Thomas Van Dyck, Managing Director-Financial Advisor of SRI Wealth Management Group. “That underscores what I see every day as a financial advisor–that the demand for fossil-free investment products is increasing.”
“Investing at scale in clean, efficient power offers one of the clearest, no regret choices ever presented to human progress,” saidChristiana Figueres, executive secretary of the UNFCCC, in a video statement at a press conference in New York today unveiling the Arabella Advisors report. The United Nations climate chief has been advocating for the shift of investment flows from fossil fuels to climate solutions to meet the $1-trillion-a-year need for clean energy investment–and to create momentum ahead of the upcoming international climate negotiations in Paris this December.
“This shift in investment flows is especially critical for underserved communities and people living in poverty, who are disproportionately affected by the negative impacts of climate change,” said Rev. Lennox Yearwood, Jr., president and CEO of Hip Hop Caucus. “Climate change hits the poor first and worst. It is a racial and economic justice issue that must be addressed with solutions like the Divest-Invest movement to empower these communities, eliminate health disparities and drive the shift to a clean energy economy.”
“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.”
“Pope Francis told us this past June in his encyclical that the earth is a gift from God and that we are responsible for protecting it,” said the Rev. Fletcher Harper, executive director of GreenFaith. “The pace of fossil fuel divestment within faith communities worldwide, combined with the growing commitment to investing in clean energy, particularly for the world’s poor, show that the world’s spiritual and moral leaders grasp the urgency of the climate crisis and are ready to act.”
Divestment strategies vary among participants in the movement. Some have divested from all fossil fuel companies both large and small; others are beginning with coal and/or tar sands. The Arabella Advisors report provides details on commitments made to date.