Fossil Fuels Taking Hit from Investors Companies on Heels of Climate Summit

Fossil Fuels Taking Hit from Investors, Companies on Heels of Climate Summit

Sept. 22, 2014
Rockefeller Brothers Fund divests from fossil fuels joining other companies taking action prior to UN Climate Summit. 

When investors talk, people listen.

On Sept. 22 the Rockefeller Brothers Fund announced  that it has begun a two-step process to divest from investments in fossil fuels. It will first focus on limiting its exposure to coal and tar sands, with a goal to reduce these investments to less than one percent of the total portfolio by the end of 2014.

This fund, which manages $860 million, is now one of 180 institutions and local governments and 654 individuals who have so far pledged to cut investments in 200 coal, oil and gas producers from their asset holdings, according to a report by Mark Drajem of Bloomberg news on

Total divested funds are $50 billion, as commitments to sell have doubled so far this year, according to Arabella Advisors, which works with philanthropic groups on their investments, reports.

This announcement is the first of many more expected on Sept. 23 during the UN Climate Summit.

Companies are pledging support as well, as Drajem reports. Mars Inc. and 11 other companies unveiled plans to phase out fossil-fuel use. And Statoil and five other oil and gas are set to pledge to plug methane leaks.

Candy maker Mars pledged in 2010 that it would transition to full renewable power for its factories and offices by 2040, and today it’s signing on with other companies ready to take that same pledge.

“We’re looking to drive more and more people into this way of thinking,” Kevin Rabinovitch, director of sustainability at Mars, said in an interview.

“Absolutely, we can’t do it alone, not as a business, not as businesses and not as individual actors,” Jeff Seabright, head of sustainability at Unilever, said in an interview. “It will require governments to take action.”

USA Today reports on other actions taken by companies. 

About two dozen large companies will join environmental groups and 24 countries to stop deforestation, which can exacerbate global warming by releasing more heat-trapping carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. They'll commit not to source products — including palm oil, soy and beef — from land where forests have been recently or illegally cut down. They'll join Nestle, Kellogg's, Hershey's and General Mills, which have already pledged action.

We Mean Business, a coalition working with thousands of companies and investors, will launch with a report on increasing business support for low-carbon energy. It holds a discussion Monday between top U.N. climate negotiator Christiana Figueres and the leaders of two companies that have pledged to get all their power from renewable sources: Apple's Tim Cook and Ikea's Peter At the Summit tomorrow dozens of climate-related events will take as President Obama and leaders from more than 120 countries are likely to announce climate initiatives, while CEOs from a variety of companies are expected to make their own commitments.

At the Summit tomorrow dozens of climate-related events will take as President Obama and leaders from more than 120 countries are likely to announce climate initiatives, while CEOs from a variety of companies are expected to make their own commitments.

About the Author

Adrienne Selko | Senior Editor

Focus: Workforce, Talent 

Follow Me on Twitter: @ASelkoIW

Bio: Adrienne Selko has written about many topics over the 17 years she has been with the publication and currently focuses on workforce development strategies. Previously Adrienne was in corporate communications at a medical manufacturing company as well as a large regional bank. She is the author of Do I Have to Wear Garlic Around My Neck? which made the Cleveland Plain Dealer's best sellers list. She is also a senior editor at Material Handling & Logistics and EHS Today

Editorial mission statement: Manufacturing is the enviable position of creating products, processes and policies that solve the world’s problems. When the industry stepped up to manufacture what was necessary to combat the pandemic, it revealed its true nature. My goal is to showcase the sector’s ability to address a broad range of workforce issues including technology, training, diversity & inclusion, with a goal of enticing future generations to join this amazing sector.

Why I find manufacturing interesting: On my first day working for a company that made medical equipment such as MRIs, I toured the plant floor. On every wall was a photo of a person, mostly children. I asked my supervisor why this was the case and he said that the work we do at this company has saved these people’s lives. “We never forget how important our work is and everyone’s contribution to that.” From that moment on I was hooked on manufacturing.

I have talked with many people in this field who have transformed their own career development to assist others. For example, companies are hiring those with disabilities, those previously incarcerated and other talent pools that have been underutilized. I have talked with leaders who have brought out the best in their workforce, as well as employees doing their best work while doing good for the world. 

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