New report: 33.7 billion euro's worth of assets have committed to fossil fuel divestment
Today, on the eve of the UN Climate Change Conference, COP26, the fossil fuel divest-invest movement released a new report that details how institutions representing an unprecedented total of EUR 33.7 trillion worth of assets have now committed to some form of fossil fuel divestment, a figure that's higher than the annual GDP of the United States and China combined.
At a briefing today, the movement also announced new commitments to divest from fossil fuels from the cities of Rio de Janeiro, Glasgow (site of COP26), Paris, Seattle, Auckland and Copenhagen through C40 Cities' Divest/Invest Forum, led by London and New York City, as well as more than 70 faith institutions, including the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Scotland. There are now 1,485 institutions from 71 countries that have committed to fossil fuel divestment. Student activists also announced new legal developments in their long running campaigns against universities.
The movement, a coalition of several different grassroots organizations, philanthropies, and advocacy groups, also provided proof that divest-invest is a winning strategy. Through recent research and case studies, Invest-Divest 2021: A Decade of Progress Towards a Just Climate Future makes the case that divestment has been successful at holding fossil fuel companies accountable for the true cost of their unregulated carbon pollution and chipping away at their political power. It reviews recent market data to prove that a divest-invest strategy is the most financially responsible path for institutional investors.
Invest Divest 2021
Today's 39-page report marks the tenth anniversary of the movement, which began on U.S. college campuses. Among its findings:
- Divestment is winning. With iconic, sector-leading institutions like Harvard University, Dutch and Canadian pension fund giants PME and CDPQ, French public bank La Banque Postale, and the Ford Foundation and John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation committing to divest in just the past few months, the movement has reached a threshold moment. It is increasingly difficult for major institutions to make the argument that ongoing fossil fuel investment is wise.
- The movement is growing fast. Public divestment commitments have grown by 49 percent in just the last three years. There are now 1,485 different institutions committed to some form of fossil fuel divestment in 71 countries around the world, representing a total of $39.2 million in assets under management. The assets under management metric is standard within the financial sector, is useful for comparing the size of the movement to other components of the economy, and is easily verifiable. Not all companies included in this list have fully divested all assets from fossil fuels, which remains a movement demand (see below). This number only tracks public commitments to divest, the true amount of fossil fuel divestment is almost certainly significantly larger.
- With 10 years of data there is now hard evidence that divestment is a winning financial strategy. Early adopters of divestment strategies are reporting neutral or positive financial results. Surveys and analyses by Wall Street firms support it.
- Despite recent short-term surges, the outlook for fossil fuels is grim. Long-term trends unmistakably point to a decline in value for fossil fuel investments, and major financial analysts agree that it's only going to get worse.
- The movement is now a market factor. Oil companies and market analysts both say the movement has gotten so big it is affecting fossil fuel company profits.
- Engagement is not enough. Shareholder engagement with fossil fuel companies, which some investors have tried to suggest as an alternative to divestment, has proven ineffective and too slow.
- More investment in climate solutions is badly needed. While divestment has been winning, there is much more that needs to be done investing in climate solutions. We need to triple the amount of money flowing into renewable energy and sustainable infrastructure.
- A just transition makes sense for everyone. We need a "just transition" to a clean energy economy, one that supports communities and workers that have depended on the fossil fuel economy and centers economic, gender, and racial justice. The transition also must include the nearly one billion people who don't have access to energy today. Investing in such a transition supports the values of mission-based investors, and the economic goals of all investors.
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Publication / 26 October 2021
Press release / 26 March 2019
Wealthy Dutch investors to disinvest personal capital worth 200 million euros from the fossil industry
Joint press release from Both ENDS and Fossielvrij NL - 26 March 2019
A group of 22 wealthy Dutch investors have decided to disinvest all their personal capital, worth a total of 200 million euros, from the top 200 oil, gas and coal companies. The investors have pledged to disinvest all their capital from the fossil industry within three to five years. By doing so, they are giving a clear signal that they do not want their capital to contribute to disastrous climate change.
News / 2 February 2020
The world has to stop using fossil fuels, but investment in the sector continues unabated. Investors of all kinds, including banks, insurance companies and pension funds, are hesitant about making the change to sustainable energy and are not sure where to start. In the autumn of 2019, together with the DivestInvest Network and Sustainable Energy (Denmark), Both ENDS published a report entitled ‘Managed Decline of Fossil Fuel Businesses’. The report describes five criteria to test whether companies in the fossil sector are actively taking steps to wind down their fossil activities. The criteria are helping investors to choose investments that are in line with the Paris goal of restricting global warming to a maximum of 1.5 degrees Celsius. We spoke to Lars Jensen, Senior Analyst at Sustainable Energy and lead author of the report.
Press release / 7 May 2019
Brussels, 7 May 2019 - In an unprecedented Climate Action Call published today, a broad coalition is urging European leaders to take decisive action to respond to the climate emergency. Hundreds of European cities, regions, businesses, youth and faith groups and civil society organisations working on climate, human rights, litigation, mobilization, sports and health call upon leaders to profoundly alter the way we run our societies and economies to limit temperature rise to 1.5°C.
Pension funds have a lot of influence because of their enormous assets. Both ENDS therefore wants pension funds such as the Dutch ABP to withdraw their investments from the fossil industry and to invest sustainably instead.
Publication / 24 October 2019
Publication / 14 May 2017
Publication / 9 May 2018
Press release / 8 July 2021
Civil society organisations send urgent letter on climate to financial sector
Amsterdam, 8 July 2021 – The Shell ruling has consequences for the financiers of major climate polluters. That is the message in a letter from a number of civil society organisations, including Oxfam Novib, Eerlijke Geldwijzer, Milieudefensie, Greenpeace and Both ENDS, to the biggest banks, pension funds and insurance companies in the Netherlands. In the letter, they call on the financial institutions to reduce CO2 emissions from loans and investments in line with the 1.5 degrees goal laid down in the Paris climate agreement.
External link / 19 June 2020
"If it is the fossil fuel-based ‘real economy’ that is driving us toward catastrophic climate change, it is the financial world behind the steering wheel." Therefore in 2019, Both ENDS worked towards fossil free investments by both individuals and public institutions such as the European Investment Bank (EIB).
News / 9 February 2022
TotalEnergies and the Chinese National Offshore Oil Cooperation (CNOOC) are currently developing an oil extraction and transportation project in Uganda: East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP). The project – the construction of a heated pipeline (EACOP) of no less than 1445 kilometers through Uganda and Tanzania to export crude oil, is increasingly causing human rights violations and environmental damage. This is a matter of great concern to civil society organisations in Uganda and beyond. This week, Both ENDS, together with partner organisations in Uganda, sent an urgent letter to twelve pension funds and asset managers with investments in TotalEnergies and CNOOC.
Press release / 24 October 2019
Press release 24 October 2019
Starting today, investors can use five criteria to test whether companies in the fossil sector are actively working on phasing out their fossil activities. Too many investors still seem hesitant to switch to a profitable future of sustainable energy and these criteria should help them do this. The organisations DivestInvest Network, Sustainable Energy (Denmark) and Both ENDS (the Netherlands) publish the report "Managed Decline of Fossil Fuel Businesses" today, which describes these five criteria. The criteria aim to help investors choose investments that are in line with the Paris goal "stay below 1.5 degrees Celsius warming." The recommendations are presented at the World Pension Summit deliberately, because pension fund investors in particular can take more responsibility in this.
Press release / 6 May 2020
The value of ABP's pension fund investments in fossil fuel companies has fallen by 44% from end of last year to its lowest point on March 16 this year, while the value of the rest of the portfolio decreased by 26%. This impact can be seen in simulations based on the publicly available equity portfolios of Dutch pension funds ABP and Zorg en Welzijn (PFZW), carried out by research agency Profundo on behalf of Both ENDS. The simulations show that the risks of investing in the fossil fuel sector are increasing.
Publication / 14 May 2017
Publication / 9 May 2018
Press release / 18 November 2019
The Netherlands provides export credit insurances and guarantees worth 1.5 billion euros annually to Dutch companies active in the oil and gas sector abroad. This support amounts to one and a half times the annual amount that the Cabinet of Prime Minister Rutte mobilises for climate initiatives worldwide. The intended effects of Dutch international climate policy are more than offset by this fossil export support. That is the conclusion of a new report from Both ENDS which is published today.
Press release / 14 May 2017
The Dutch pension fund, ABP, invested about two billion euros more in the fossil energy industry at the end of 2016 than the year before. This is announced by the report "Dirty & Dangerous: the fossil fuel investments of Dutch pension fund ABP," published today by Both ENDS, German urgewald and Fossielvrij NL. The report criticizes these investments because of the impact on the climate and the catastrophic consequences for the people in the areas where coal, oil and gas are being produced.
External link / 31 October 2021
In this short video, Niels Hazekamp of Both ENDS talks about how the Netherlands stimulates projects related to the fossil sector abroad through its export credit agency (ECA) Atradius DSB. The ECA provides export credit insurance for very large-scale and high-risk activities abroad. About two thirds of this export support (worth around 1.5 billion euros per year) is going to the fossil fuel sector. Absurd, at a time when the whole world has to make the transition to sustainable energy. Our country should not support the fossil, but the renewable energy sector with such guarantees, and grab that chance of 1.5 billion!
News / 1 May 2019
Amsterdam 1 May 2019 - Dutch pension fund ABP's 'sustainable and responsible investment report’ today suggests that the pension fund is well on track in terms attaining its internal sustainability goals. However, an analysis by Fossielvrij NL, Both ENDS, urgewald and Greenpeace shows that ABP remains on a collision course with the Paris climate goals. At the end of 2018, ABP still invested 16.5 billion Euros in the fossil industry. ABP's investments in the world's 44 largest climate polluters even increased between 2016 and 2018.
News / 10 November 2020
The Dutch development bank FMO has published a statement about fossil fuels to take steps in climate action. Both ENDS and partners are pleased that FMO is finally taking a stand regarding fossil fuels, but in our opinion it could be more ambitious. In order to really contribute to sustainability and equality, it is essential that development banks stop investing in harmful fossil projects.