How much money has your university, church, pension fund, or other institution lost by investing in fossil fuels over the last three years?
Decarbonizer is a free online tool where campaigners can find out how much money their target institution would have lost [or gained] if they had divested from fossil fuels when the divestment movement kicked off three years ago. This tool can provide new campaign leverage by boosting the financial argument to divest. Campaigners might use the data to reopen divestment discussions with administration and trustees or to turn up the pressure through local media channels. The Decarbonizer, and other financial arguments, are there to backup the moral argument – the core of the movement – that it’s wrong to profit from the destruction of our planet.
Here’s what some campaigners are finding out by using the tool:
“Most beneficiaries have no idea that we’ve each lost roughly $1800 of our retirement savings in the last three years because of these risky fossil fuel investments.” – 350 Vermont (See full press release here)
“…the losses made on fossil fuel investments would have been enough to purchase close to two billion polio vaccines.” – Gates Foundation Divestment Campaign (See full press release here)
Want to see more of what others are learning from the tool? Check out the launch article with results from 14 institutions.
Ready to get started? Click here to go to Decarbonizer.
Afterwards, let us know how it went! We hope to collect the results of institutions from around the world and display them on our webpage. Click here to send us your results.
Here’s the Web Workshop we did on the Decarbonizer
Links mentioned in the webinar
Info on the Vermont case study:
- Fossil Fuel Investments Cost the Vermont Pension Fund Millions (Press release from 350 Vermont)
- Groups see fossil fuels as money-losers; treasurer differs (AP)
- OPINION: Fossil Fuel Investments Too Risky (Maeve McBride, The Bridge)
- Other press materialsDecarbonizer tools:
- How to get the investment holdings file prepared for the Decarbonizer Tool (Corporate Knights)
- The Decarbonizer on GoFossilFree.org
Info for holdings:
- Example fund lists: Future Fund, CPPIB and McGill University have this information available on their website, as well as other funds like NYCERS or the Wellcome Trust.
- 990 Forms: Most US foundations disclose their corporate stock holdings here.
- SEC info: Search by the name of the investment management company (i.e. Harvard Management Company) to get their “Quarterly Holdings and Combination Reports by Institutional Money Managers – Form 13F.”
- Holdings Channel: See if you can find your institution here.
The trickiest part of running this analysis is getting your hands on a list of holdings and uploading those holdings in the right format. Click here to see a guide that will help you in formatting the holdings on a spreadsheet in a way the tool can read.
You don’t necessarily need a complete list of holdings. You could run the tool on what you can find and let the institution or reporter know that this is based off the part of the portfolio we had access to.
Sample portfolio spreadsheets:
This document is helpful for anyone who would like to know how the tool works. There are necessary basic assumptions built into the equation, and it’s good to be transparent about those assumptions. If you are handing the results of your decarbonized portfolio to a reporter or an investment board, you might want to include this document.