Following 5 years of divestment campaigning, 350.org and the climate movement is seeing real momentum and victories. Hundreds of institutions around the world are committing to move their money out of the fossil fuel industry. The campaign began in an effort to stigmatize the Fossil Fuel industry — the financial impact was secondary to the socio-political impact. But now, with Trillions of USD of assets under management divesting, and more commitments flowing in all the time, money is moving.  We have a responsibility and an opportunity to ask ourselves how moving the money itself (and not just the fight to move it) can help us usher forth our vision. What could we build with the resources that used to uphold the Fossil Fuel industry?

 

Reinvestment principles

 

These principles are adapted from the Regenerative Finance team and were developed in partnership with Movement Generation and the Climate Justice Alliance. We know investment is a complex decision for any institution — they must weigh their needs, their values and mission, and the available options. 350.org is not an investment advisor, but we believe that to build the world we need, we must invest in a way that is consistent with our vision. As we work with institutions that are making investment choices, we will continue to urge them to consider investments that: 

  • Increase community empowerment and prosperity:  Invest in smaller, diverse, community controlled and people-driven places so the benefits of investment are distributed among more people and communities.
  • Shift Economic Control: Invest in places that prioritize the rights, well being and economic interests of workers, communities, and the success of the enterprise.
  • Democratize the Workplace:  Invest in places that increase worker ownership, democracy, rights at the places of work and ensure workers receive prevailing wages
  • Drive Social Equity: Invest in places that are actively addressing social inequities based on race, class, gender, immigrant status, and other forms of oppression.
  • Promote ecological wellbeing and resilience: Invest in places that are committed to advancing ecological resilience, reducing resource consumption, and that will help to shift the economy away from dependence on extractive industries, in particular the fossil fuels industry.
  • Shift Trends in Production and Consumption: Invest to support the growth and sustainability of renewable energy and manufacturing sectors that are aiming to achieve a zero emissions footprint.
  • Strengthen the Public: Invest to support public sector infrastructure projects that build a zero carbon future, while making cities, towns and villages more ecologically sustaining, healthier and more people-centred.

 

FAQ

 

Yes. The area of the investment world that looks for investment opportunities in line with these principles is called “Impact Investing”. Of course there are many impact investment products and managers that don’t meet the standard of these principles, but the good ones are out there. You might look into investor networks like Transform Finance (dot org) or work with a consultant on impact investment opportunities. Bottom line, investors should ask how their investments can benefit communities in their geographical area.

The traits that created the climate crisis and other social crisis are the same: capitalism, colonialism, patriarchy, inequality to name a few. If we address the climate crisis only through the transition to renewable energy sources we may not be able to provide solutions to the whole environmental crisis.  If we wish to overcome the climate and the environmental crisis we must address a whole spectrum of issues such as capitalism, colonialism, patriarchy and inequality. We must organise human life systems differently: systems that insist that humans must think many generations in the future; must be not only good citizens but also good ancestors; must take no more than they need and give back to the land in order to protect and augment the cycles of regeneration restorative justice.

Our economy must be grounded in the physical reality of a planet with limited natural resources and waste sinks, and the ethical reality that unbounded inequity is intolerable. The current economy that is base on endless growth, fails on both grounds. A new economy requires a profound shift to holistic living systems, an ecological integrity worldview, equality and social justice.  Our reinvestment principles aim to shift investments to support the new model of “regenerative ecological economy”

There is not a minimum amount required. The amount would be different according to each organization’s size, financial situation and values.

Yes, there are – please see one Rockefellers Brothers Fund example.

In general, investments that align with these principles yield less profits than traditional investments in the short term. However, as more of the economy turns to one that is based on regenerative values, those investments are likely to become cost-competitive with current exploitative investments, thus generating greater profit and return on investment. Even if a portion is reallocated as regenerative capital, the overall return to investors can be of greater value.

The biggest barrier is an investor’s own conviction. When a commitment is made to invest using these principles, most investors find the resources and opportunities they are looking for. For example, “commingled funds” are an important feature of midsized institutional investor portfolios and are often cited as a barrier to reinvesting with principles. Luckily, there are numerous funds that invest in renewable energy projects, affordable housing and other types of impact investments and you can find a partial list here. Any shift to this kind of investment will require time and motivation to explore these and other opportunities.

Reinvestment may but is not limited to support projects that stem from a just transition to renewable and clean energy sources such as trainings for workers, and  infrastructure development.

See example

Reinvestment should meet at least one of these principles, and should not have a negative impact of the other principles. For example:  reinvestment that invested in the public sector should not drive inequality, or cause ecological harm