REPORT: Fossil fuel divestment doubles in size as institutions representing $5 trillion commit to divest

Third annual report reveals global commitments reach 688 institutions spanning 76 countries

GLOBAL — The global movement to divest from fossil fuels has doubled in size since September 2015, according to the third annual Global Fossil Fuel Divestment and Clean Energy Investment Movement report from Arabella Advisors. The report, released today by the Divest-Invest network, comes exactly one year after world governments reached the Paris agreement on climate change.

Global commitments to divest have reached 688 institutions across 76 countries, representing $5 trillion in assets under management. [1] Recent notable announcements include Dublin’s Trinity College, 16 universities in the UK, the Islamic Society of North America and the American Public Health Association.

“As we enter the final weeks of 2016, the hottest year in history, the success of the divestment movement is undeniable,” said May Boeve, 350.org Executive Director. “In the face of intensifying climate impacts, and regressive and anti-climate governments like the Trump administration, it’s more critical than ever that our institutions — especially at the local level — step up to break free from fossil fuel companies.”

What started as a campaign on university campuses in the United States has now become a mainstream, global movement permeating every sector of society. Divestment commitments and campaigns stem from all types of institutions: from universities and pension funds, to faith-based groups and health organisations, to the insurance sector and cultural institutions, and more.

Last week, campaigners with Divest Nobel released a letter signed by 17 Nobel laureates around the world, including Archbishop Desmond Tutu, calling on the Nobel Foundation to act in Alfred Nobel’s will and divest from fossil fuels.

The New York-based American Museum of Natural History responded to a campaign driven by scientists and activists calling for it to cut ties with fossil fuels, revealing it has reduced exposure of its $650 million endowment to coal, oil and gas, and is seeking portfolio managers who incorporate climate risk and prioritise renewables.

In October, the Diocese of Umuarama, which encompasses 45 parishes and about 490,000 inhabitants in Brazil, became the first Diocese, and the first institution in Latin America, to divest from fossil fuels. “We cannot accommodate and continue allowing economic interests that seek exorbitant profits before the well being of people, to destroy biodiversity and ecosystems, nor continue dictating our energy model based on fossil fuels when we have so many other possibilities for clean, renewable energies,” said Dom Frei João Mamede Filho, Bishop of the Diocese of Umuarama, Brazil.

As the divestment movement celebrates this tremendous milestone, it recognises the increasingly urgent need for bold and swift action on the climate crisis and announced a major mobilisation for next year.

“Fossil fuel divestment has become a mainstream $5 trillion movement because our institutions and society know that we need a rapid and just shift away from the fossil fuel economy,” said Yossi Cadan, 350.org Global Senior Divestment Campaigner. “But many institutions are moving far too slowly. That’s why we will take action around the world in May 2017 through global mobilisations to shine a spotlight on the impacts of the fossil fuel industry, and escalate the call for governments and institutions to divest.”

The Global Divestment Mobilisation will take place between 5-13 May, 2017



Europe contact: Melanie Mattauch, melanie@350.org, +49 151 5812 0184

Global contact: Hoda Baraka, hoda@350.org, +201 001 840 990

Notes to editors

To view the Arabella report, visit: https://www.arabellaadvisors.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/Global_Divestment_Report_2016.pdf 

To view the Divest-Invest press pack, visit: https://fenton.egnyte.com/fl/iNgNKcqLFv#folder-link/

For a full list of fossil fuel divestment commitments, visit: gofossilfree.org/commitments

[1] The community of institutions committed to some level of fossil fuel divestment is counted in total assets under management. It is common for investor groups aligned on an environmental, social and governance (ESG) issue to identify as an aggregate of total assets under management. Also, many of the institutions who have committed to screening out fossil fuels are not transparent in their investment holdings and do not wish to disclose specific portfolio information. Therefore producing an accurate indicator of divestment from fossil fuel companies, specifically, was not possible.