Divestment

Cutting carbon is good business

Green businessBloomberg News reports that companies serious about climate change have outperformed the wider market by 10 percent over the last five years. CDP, a UK nonprofit, tracks hundreds of companies and grades them "based on how aggressively they are setting and meeting carbon goals, and on how forthcoming they are about this work":

CDP's Carbon Performance Leadership Index (CPLI) is composed of companies that lead their peers in managing and reporting the carbon pollution from their own operations and supply chains.... In the five years since the CPLI first launched, the index beat both the Bloomberg World Index, which tracks the largest companies across sectors by market value, and the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index.

In short, reducing the use of carbon is good business, and many companies are helping their bottom line while helping the planet. CDP calculates that the return on investment of carbon reduction activities is 33 percent, providing a complete payback for green costs in just three years. 

Many businesspeople mistakenly believe that spending money to move from carbon-based to renewable energy hurts their profits. CDP demonstrates that the reverse is true: green business is profitable business.

It might seem, on the basis of this report, that those of us in the climate movement would do better to encourage Chevron and Peabody Coal to diversify and reduce their carbon footprint rather than to work for divestment. Nothing could be further from the truth. 

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UC profits from fossil fuels

dirty uc campanileThis post by Kathy Barnhart was originally published in Berkeleyside. Kathy is a UC alum from the class of 1968 who is active with the Fossil Free UC campaign.

It doesn’t make sense for the University of California to hold millions of dollars of stock in the fossil fuel industry and at the same time espouse a goal of carbon neutrality by 2025. Students at UC Berkeley and throughout the UC system have demanded that the Regents vote to divest from their stock in fossil fuel companies. On Sept.17, 2014, the Regents ignored their wishes.

In a hasty process involving only four one-hour meetings over the summer, a task force on Fossil Fuel Investments/Sustainable Investing, comprised of staff, Regents, two students, faculty and investment advisors made its recommendation to the Committee on Investments at the Regents Meeting at UCSF. Against the students’ wishes, divestment was not included in the recommendation. Only at the last minute, at the insistence of Fossil Free UC and its supporters, was language against divestment taken out of the recommendation.

The University of California holds $3 billion in the top 200 dirtiest fossil fuel companies out of a $90 billion endowment. One-half billion dollars of that is in coal, an “asset” that has been dropping in value.

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