Robert Armstrong: A South African fossil fuel divestment story

RobertArmstrongI work in the natural & organic retail industry, where we promote and offer products we believe lead to a healthy lifestyle. Our aim is to provide products and services that are healthy for people as well as for the planet. To do this, we try to source organically farmed or naturally sourced products, and wherever we can, reduce our carbon footprint.

As a conscious retailer, I decided to look at my savings/ share portfolio for ways to reduce my personal footprint further. I was also able to look at a family member’s portfolio, and unsurprisingly found that being a South African invested in the JSE, it was heavily weighted to mining and carbon-intensive companies like Sasol.

So, fortunately, after a conversation about the damaging impacts that companies like Anglo American, BHP, Exxarro and Sasol have on the planet, we decided to divest from these companies. And thankfully, resources like Fossil Free SA and 350Africa.org help to inform and guide us on the problems and solutions to climate change. The question, then, was where should our funds be invested where we can have peace of mind that the vehicles/equities/bonds that were invested in were ethical and not damaging our environment?

The options thus far have been very limited in South Africa. We would love to see more offerings on the local market. For now, we have chosen the Nedbank Green Savings Bond as well as a small exploratory holding in the Sun Exchange (local) and Lend-a-Hand Ethex (UK).

Note: Our profiles of ethical South African investors are not intended as investment advice, but as inspiration for undertaking your own fossil fuel divestment and ethical investment journey. If you have a personal divestment story to share with us, please get in touch

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