Divestment, or disposing of investments in fossil fuel companies, is all about preventing companies from raising the investment funds needed to extract fossil fuels, in particular coal, oil and gas, because these fossil fuels contribute directly to the increase in greenhouse gas emissions and climate change. 

Over the last few months there have been many encouraging signs to indicate that this is happening:

1. Currently, according to the Fossil Free website (https://gofossilfree.org/uk/campaigns/), funds controlling over $6 trillion have committed to divest.

2. Just 4 months ago Norway’s central bank, which manages the country’s $1 trillion sovereign wealth fund, suggested divesting from oil and gas.

3. Insurance companies have increasingly recognised the dangers of investing in fossil fuels. For example Italian company, Generali, has announced it is divesting 2 billion euros from coal while at the same time investing 3.5 billion euros in renewable energy. Other giant insurance companies divesting include Zurich, Allianz, Aviva and Axa.

4. January saw the announcement that New York City was not only divesting its $191 billion pension fund but it was also to sue the top fossil fuel companies for damage caused by climate change.

5. One third of UK universities have made divestment commitments.

6. Last year the TUC passed a motion supporting divestment and in January UNISON launched a campaign to divest pensions including a guide for their members on how to push for change in the investment of their pension funds.

Brent Friends of the Earth are at the heart of this movement and are running a campaign, with promising signs of progress, to encourage Brent local authority to divest pension funds held directly or indirectly in fossil fuels.  



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