Climate divested funds now bigger than listed oil, gas sector

Outgoing UN chief hails news as value of organisations ditching polluting fossil fuels doubles to $5tn in 2016

Divestment campaigners in Oxford, UK (Pic: Kamyar Adl/Flickr)


The value of organisations committed to ditching their holdings in fossil fuels is now bigger than all listed oil and gas companies, according to a report published on Monday.

The Divest-Invest network says 688 organisations, worth more than $5 trillion, across 76 countries are now signed up to the movement, which started with a few US universities back in 2013.

Companies, organisations and cities are among those taking part, including Amalgamated Bank, Aegon, Allianz SE, the Rockefeller Foundation and the cities of Berlin, Washington DC and Oslo.

Outgoing UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon welcomed the news. “Investments in clean energy are the right thing to do,” he said ahead of his last address to the General Assembly.

“As we enter the final weeks of 2016, the hottest year in history, the success of the divestment movement is undeniable,” said May Boeve, head of the campaign group.

“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.”

The $5 trillion figure exceeds the value of the 1,649 listed oil and gas firms, rated at $4.65bn in 2014 by Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

The campaign has framed a “larger narrative” over the decline of fossil fuels, says today’s report by Arabella Advisors, placing the sector under “legal, regulatory, political, and cultural pressures.”

“In addition, the fossil fuel industry finds itself under investigation for potentially fraudulent climate denial and failure to disclose climate risk, following a series of investigative reports by nongovernmental organisations and journalists,” says the US-based consultancy.

“Together, these campaigns comprise a multi-faceted, increasingly global movement, with divestment providing an important on-ramp for a new generation of young climate leaders.”

Read more on: Divestment