#DIVEST – 3 steps to create your fossil-fuel free investment portfolio

A large part of our financial system is currently nourishing unsustainable production and consumption patterns, intensive in carbon and natural resources. Making radical changes by redirecting money flows, that is the aim of the fossil fuel divestment campaign. It is gaining traction all across the world. The international 350.orgplatform already counts more than 1,000 local divestment initiatives, including several Energy Cities members like La Rochelle in France or Christchurch in New Zealand.

A brief guide for cities

1- Identify where city money has been placed and shift it elsewhere

Identify the stocks (pension funds etc.) your city owns (directly or indirectly) in fossil fuel holdings and sell them. End your administration’s contracts with multinational banks which are heavily invested in fossil fuels. Their investments in fossil fuels are rapidly turning from assets into liabilities. A study by the London School of Economics and the Carbon Tracker Initiative has shown that fossil fuel companies are overvalued by 40-60%, as their billion Euros of investments in new coal plants are destined to become stranded assets in the local energy transition. On the site gofossilfree.org, you can find the top 200 oil, gas and coal that hold the lion’s share of the world’s fossil fuel reserves. Move all your bank accounts to local or community development banks to protect your investments and engage in climate action.

2- Spend money on sustainable and local projects

Public money should be reinvested in your territory and support the efforts of its residents, by helping them invest e.g. in the renovation of their homes or in small-scale renewable energy projects like PV panels or solar thermal systems. Invest in cooperatives and crowdfunded local energy projects, to support your communities and create new local jobs on your territory. If you still want to invest in stocks and mutual funds, consult with your financial planner to identify suitable fossil-free products.

3- Support and encourage divestment by cities

Once you have successfully completed your divestment from fossil fuels, engage with other stakeholders on your territory to help them do the same. Communicate widely about your strategy to remove investments from fossil fuels and polluting industries. Share your experiences with other local authorities at Energy Cities or the Covenant of Mayors, in order to catalyze divesting from fossil fuels in other regions in the world!

© Pogrebnoj-Alexandroff



Béatrice Karas

Publication date

October 28, 2016