MOVEMENT MILESTONE: Global Fossil Fuel Divestment Surpasses 1600+ Commitments
December 15, 2023
GLOBAL – On the heels of COP28, where world governments finally recognized the need to “transition away from fossil fuels” but failed to acknowledge the inevitable phase-out, the global fossil fuel divestment movement surpassed a major milestone, already leading the way to a fossil free world: 1600+ institutions, representing $40.6 trillion in assets, are cutting ties with the toxic energy of the past.
Swiss pension fund CPEG, the UK’s Wiltshire Pension Fund, and the largest private pension fund in the Netherlands are the latest to join the unstoppable movement. In 2023 alone, major divestment commitments were made by the Church of England, New York University, the National Academy of Medicine, and Triodos Bank.
“This 1600 commitment milestone is an undeniable proof of concept, all thanks to people-powered momentum, even in the face of climate chaos and collective grief,” said Amy Gray, Stand.earth Climate Finance Associate Director and coordinator of the Climate Safe Pensions Network. “Even in times of heartache, we are resolved in our work to hold polluters accountable for climate chaos, and to reclaim, repair, and rebuild healthy and safe communities.”
From educational institutions and public pension funds, to faith-based and healthcare groups, to governments, nonprofits, and cultural institutions, fossil fuel divestment spans every sector of society, and continues to gain momentum with consistent reports of positive returns following fossil fuel divestment.
Surpassing 1600 fossil fuel divestment commitments would not have been possible without millions of climate justice leaders around the world, countless economic, racial, and climate justice organizations, and steadfast support from Ellen Dorsey, who is stepping down from the Wallace Global Fund, as a long-time leader of the movement.
A June 2023 report from the University of Waterloo revealed that just six U.S. public pension funds would be $21 billion richer had they divested from fossil fuels a decade ago.
“This milestone follows years of attempted shareholder engagement, now a proven futile strategy, with fossil fuel corporations hell-bent on our destruction,” said Richard Brooks, Stand.earth Climate Finance Director. “Instead of financing climate chaos-causing fossil fuels, violence, and extraction, financial institutions like big banks and pension funds must protect people and planet alike, cutting ties with fossil fuels and reinvesting in proven community-led climate-safe solutions.”
Not only is a world beyond fossil fuels possible, millions are building it right now – it’s time for fossil fuel companies and their financiers – including major banks like Royal Bank of Canada and Citibank, and private equity firms like KKR – to stop holding us back.
The Global Fossil Fuel Commitments Divestment Database is managed by Stand.earth, and is the world’s most comprehensive tracker of fossil fuel divestment commitments.
Stand.earth also coordinates the Climate Safe Pensions Network, a group of 25+ grassroots campaigns across Turtle Island demanding local pension funds protect returns and our climate, phase out fossil fuel holdings, and reinvest in climate-safe solutions.
To view the full divestment database, visit: divestmentdatabase.org
For more on the Climate Safe Pensions Network, visit: climatesafepensions.org
Stand.earth’s Climate Finance program focuses on pushing the financial sector to divest from fossil fuel projects and invest in climate solutions, such as renewable energy infrastructure. We’re also pressuring major pension funds throughout North America to pull workers’ money out of fossil fuel companies that violate Indigenous rights and exacerbate the climate crisis, and reinvest in climate-safe solutions. Stand.earth manages the Global Divestment Database.