Divest Your Portfolio

Clean energy investments needed, shown in billions of dollars per year, to avoid catastrophic climate change. The red bars represent what has actually been invested. Source: Bloomberg New Energy Finance

Investments—such as individual stocks, mutual funds and 401(k)s—present the most straightforward avenues for divestment from fossil fuels. Since investment capital directly funds oil, coal, and gas corporations, divestment from these stocks has a major impact on the fossil fuel industry’s bottom line and overall standing in the marketplace. If enough people pull their investments out of fossil fuels—or never invest in the first place—we can devalue fossil fuel corporations and shut down one of the industry’s main sources of both revenue and social license.

1. Evaluate your current investments. Fossil Free Funds has a wonderful search tool that allows you to enter fund names and see their fossil fuel investments.

2. Talk to your investment advisor or retirement fund manager. If you have an investment advisor, let them know your interest in moving your investments to fossil fuel free funds. If you have a retirement fund through your employer, ask the fund manager if there are any options to move your money. As interest grows in socially responsible investing, increased demand will push employers and fund managers to offer more environmentally sustainable funds. Fossil Free Funds has also created a 401(k) Toolkit to help employees advocate for the divestment of their retirement funds.

3. Investigate fossil fuel free and socially responsible investment funds. There are several fossil free funds available that are provided by well established investment firms like Green Century Funds and Trillium Asset Management. Some credit unions also offer prepackaged fossil-free investments.  Additionally, Fossil Free Funds has a list of fossil fuel free and socially responsible funds, and some firms now offer managed investment specifically in renewable energy.

For more information on how to divest your investment and retirement funds, check out 350.org’s comprehensive guide to extracting fossil fuels from your portfolio, and follow Fossil Free USA’s Roadmap to Divestment.

→ Next: Divest Your Electricity