Guardian (UK) launches "Keep it in the ground" campaign to divest from fossil fuels over climate concerns

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2 April 2015

Blog by Guardian chairman: "Why the Guardian Media Group is getting out of fossil fuels"

Author: Neil Berkett, chairman of Guardian Media Group

"Why the Guardian Media Group is getting out of fossil fuels", 2 Apr 2015

The corporate world is increasingly waking up to its responsibilities when it comes to investments in fossil fuels or other industries threatening the environment. Guardian Media Group is no exception. The board, which I chair, recently signed up to the UN-backed Principles for Responsible Investment initiative...This week it has taken a bold decision to go further: to step up engagement with fund managers on critical topics, including climate change; to increase our exposure to environmental, social and governance (ESG) managers; and, in the medium term, to divest from fossil fuels. These initiatives will ensure that the company behind the Guardian, the Observer and will adopt investment policies that formally recognise the importance of ESG factors in improving overall sustainability.

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16 March 2015

"The argument for divesting from fossil fuels is becoming overwhelming"

Author: Alan Rusbridger, Guardian [UK]

...If journalism has so far failed to animate the public to exert sufficient pressure on politics through reporting and analysis, it seemed doubtful whether many people would be motivated by the idea of campaigning for a paragraph to be inserted into the negotiating text at the UN climate talks in Paris this December. So we turned to an area where campaigners have recently begun to have marked successes: divestment...

Some huge endowments and investment funds have already announced that they will be decarbonising their portfolios, exiting fossil fuels altogether and/or investing in cleaner alternatives.

They include the Rockefeller Brothers Fund; Stanford, Glasgow and Australian National Universities; the British Medical Association; Norway’s Government Pension Fund Global, which has sold off 32 coal companies on climate and environmental grounds; AP4, the giant Swedish pension fund; and many other faith groups, local councils and asset managers. The World Council of Churches has committed not to invest...

The Wellcome Trust handles a portfolio of more than £18bn and invests around £700m a year in science, the humanities, social science education and medical research. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has an endowment of $43.5bn. Last year it gave away $3.9bn in grants towards health and sustainable development...

Because both foundations are a) so progressive in their aims and actions and b) have human health and science at the heart of everything they do, we hope they, of all institutions, will see the force of the call for them to move their money out of a sector whose actions, if unchecked, could cause the most devastating harm to the health of billions...

The ask of them is, we think, both modest and simple. We understand that fund managers do not like to make sudden changes to their portfolios. So we ask that the Gates Foundation and Wellcome Trust commit now to divesting from the top 200 fossil fuel companies within five years. And that they immediately freeze any new investment in the same companies...

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15 March 2015

Climate change: UN backs fossil fuel divestment campaign

Author: Damian Carrington, Guardian (UK)

The UN organisation in charge of global climate change negotiations is backing the fast-growing campaign persuading investors to sell off their fossil fuel assets...“We support divestment as it sends a signal to companies, especially coal companies, that the age of ‘burn what you like, when you like’ cannot continue,” said Nick Nuttall, the spokesman for the UN framework convention on climate change (UNFCCC)...[The] World Coal Association has criticised the UNFCCC’s decision..., saying it threatened investment in cleaner coal technologies... [The] World Bank, Bank of England, HSBC, Goldman Sachs...Standard and Poor’s [and others] have warned that only a fraction of known fossil fuel reserves can be safely burned and that the remainder could plummet in value posing huge risks to investors.

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