Last spring UUCB decided to commit to divest our church endowment funds from fossil fuels over the next four years. During this process, some people wanted to know how to assess the fossil fuel exposure of their personal holdings, but without advanced financial analysis tools, this information was difficult to obtain. There now is a new free website where you can find this information easily – go to http://www.fossilfreefunds.org
In addition to joining many other UU churches, other faith institutions like the World Council of Churches, and cities including our very own Boulder, we have been part of explosive growth in this movement over the last year. During Climate Week in September 2014, divestment advocates pledged to triple the value of funds already committed to divestment, from $50 billion to $150 billion by the December 2015 Paris UN climate negations. With three more months to go, a recent Arabella Advisors report found an astonishing fifty-fold increase, to $2.6 trillion in assets under management by institutions, governments, and individuals committed to divestment! There are now 430 institutions and 2,040 individuals across 43 countries who have committed to divest from fossil fuel companies. We at UUCB are on the list of commitments to date kept here: http://gofossilfree.org/commitments/ .
Recent notable commitments include the Norway Pension Fund, the Canadian Medical Association, the University of California pension system, the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation, Leonardo DiCaprio and the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation. Wall Street is becoming interested in sustainable investing, as shown by Goldman Sach’s global head of environmental, social, and governance investing who recently stated a fund can divest from all fossil fuels without hurting returns. This shatters the fiduciary argument used by many fund managers. Edelman PR, world’s largest public relations firm, announced they will no longer work with coal producers and climate change deniers. The landscape for both divestment, and reinvestment in renewable energy, is rapidly changing, affected in part by increasing awareness of the advancing crises we are living through with the need for climate change action. Our church can be proud we are part of these timely changes.