We’re all connected to institutions that claim to be looking out for the public good, from local councils and governments, to universities, public banks and religious institutions. Many of these institutions, however, continue to support the fossil fuel industry whether we know it or not.
Given that we have to immediately halt any new coal, oil and gas development and phase out existing projects in order to avoid catastrophic changes to our climate, our institutions have a responsibility to stop supporting an industry whose business model is based on wrecking our future.
To date almost 700 institutions across the globe representing funds worth over $5 trillion have made some form of divestment commitment. They include universities, faith and medical institutions, cities such as Seattle, Melbourne and Berlin, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, heirs to the Rockefeller oil fortune, as well as big financial players such as Norway’s sovereign wealth fund.
The first Fossil Free campaigns in Europe kicked off in autumn 2013. Since then, over 250 campaigns are underway in the UK, Germany, France, Sweden, the Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland, Denmark, Norway, Finland and other countries.
The capital cities of France, Germany, Norway, Sweden and Denmark have all pledged publicly to stop investing in fossil fuels. Over a quarter of universities in the UK have committed to divest. There are over 160 divestment commitments from Europe so far.
The divestment movement enjoys endorsement from high-level figures such as former Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Christiana Figueres, World Bank President Jim Yong Kim and Nobel Peace Prize winner archbishop Desmond Tutu.