Climate Change? Time to Change our Investments

This week a Vancouver City Committee unanimously approved a new Responsible Investment initiative to develop a positive screening process to align its investments in Canadian banks and credit unions with the city’s core goals. The Initiative will also examine how the city can screen or invest its pension funds for better alignment.

Net Zero-Energy Building, a solar hot water heater in Vancouver © City of Vancouver
Net Zero-Energy Building, a solar hot water heater in Vancouver © City of Vancouver

To meet the key  Greenest City Action  Plan goals, Vancouver’s funds should be moved away from heavy carbon polluting companies that now make up part of the city’s portfolio. As the Mayors Innovation Council says: “It’s not worth greening your city for the next generation, if you’re also investing millions in companies that are threatening that generation’s future.”
We hope the end result of this Initiative is for Vancouver to join the growing list of cities in North America divesting from fossil fuel investments.
Listen to the voices supporting the call for divestment:

  • Our global Seize Your Power campaign calls on governments and financial institutions worldwide to phase out investment in fossil fuels.
  •  Mayor McGinn of Seattle  says: “We must begin now to map out a strategy for divesting from fossil fuels in phased manner that protects our retirement system, and meets our moral obligation to future generations to stop the devastation of climate change.”
  • A new Oxford University report, “Fossil fuel divestment  and what it could mean for companies and investors” (that WWF helped fund), reviews lessons the apartheid  and tobacco divestment campaigns can teach the “go fossil free” movement, and finds that one of the most significant outcomes from those campaigns was restrictive legislation, something we sorely need for carbon polluters in Canada.
  • David Nussbaum, Chief Executive at WWF-UK,  says:  “On the back of the IPCC giving us the clearest signal, yet of the threats posed by a changing climate, and highlighting the need to act decisively to address the problem, it’s clear that we must consider the risks to businesses and investors posed by investments in fossil fuels. Prudent investors want to be ahead of the pack, not following the herd, so they will be preparing for a world where we leave fossil fuels in the ground – avoiding assets that cannot be realized safely in a carbon-constrained world.”

“Divestment campaigns are just one front in the climate fight, but of all the actions people can take to bring about structural change, it’s probably the easiest”, says Bill McKibben . We agree.