Courtesy of Suzanne Goldberg @ The Guardian:
The heirs to the fabled Rockefeller oil fortune withdrew their funds from fossil fuel investments on Monday, lending a symbolic boost to a $50bn divestment campaign ahead of a United Nations summit on climate change.
The former vice-president, Al Gore, will present the divestment commitments to world leaders, making the case that investments in oil and coal have an uncertain future.
With Monday’s announcement, more than 800 global investors – including foundations such as the Rockefeller Brothers, religious groups, healthcare organisations, cities and universities – have pledged to withdraw a total of $50bn from fossil fuel investments over the next five years.
The Rockefeller Brothers Fund controls about $860m in assets, said Beth Dorsey, the chief executive of the Wallace Global Fund and the Divest-Invest movement, which has led the divestment campaign. About 7% are invested in fossil fuels.
But the Rockefellers’ decision to cut their ties with oil lends the divestment campaign huge symbolic importance because of their family history. The divestment move also helps bring a campaign launched by scrappy activists on college campuses into the financial mainstream.
But for oil, there may not have been a Rockefeller fortune. John and William Rockefeller were the co-founders of the Standard Oil Company, which at the time operated the world’s biggest refineries, and overtime spawned Exxon, Amoco and Chevron.
Now, after a year of deliberations, the descendants of those original Rockefellers had decided the time had come to move away from oil. Continue reading