Divestment from Dirty Industries

Individuals, Local & National Policymakers, Financial Institutions, NUIG, GMIT, Religious Institutions

07 Divestment from Dirty Industries - Courtesy Light Brigading (Flickr)
Courtesy: Light Brigading (Flickr)

For a long time, many governments, local authorities, financial institutions (banks, etc.), retirement funds, educational institutions and religious institutions have been investing enormous sums of money in socially and environmentally catastrophic industries such as coal, oil and tobacco. For example, the UK’s big five banking groups put £66 billion into fossil fuel extraction in 2012 alone.

Divestment is the opposite of investment – it simply means taking money out of pension or investment funds that are unethical. There is a mounting global campaign to promote divestment of these funds from the fossil fuel industry (oil, coal and gas). Glasgow and Stanford Universities are among a growing number of educational institutions leading the way on the issue. The fossil fuel divestment movement can help break the hold that the fossil fuel industry has on our economy and our governments.

Educational and religious institutions, governments, and other organisations that serve the public good could divest from fossil fuels. These institutions could immediately freeze any new investment in fossil fuel companies, and divest public equities and corporate bonds from direct ownership or from funds that include fossil fuel, as soon as possible.

Individuals can have an impact by simply writing to their pension or investment fund manager asking them to clarify whether their funds are directly linked to fossil fuel interests. If so, people can ask them to identify alternative, ethically sound investment funds. The more institutions and individuals that take up this challenge, the greater the driving force for change there will be, bringing us one step closer to a sustainable, habitable planet for our children and grandchildren.

‘Go Fossil Free’ Campaign

Move Your Money UK

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