Petition: Tell these pension/investment funds to divest from fossil fuels

South Africans are threatened by climate change, by the health and environmental impacts of fossil fuels – coal, gas and oil – and by the role of parts of the fossil fuel industry in state capture and in holding back wind and solar energy development. To build a just, sustainable, and healthy future for all South Africans, we need ethical savings and investments in our economy that support long-term social development and a healthy environment.

As individual savers and as members of communities holding joint investments (including companies, universities, religious bodies, stokvels, municipalities, and NGOs), we pledge our support to the global movement1 to divest from fossil-fuel assets to help avoid catastrophic climate change. We are ready to divest.

Amandla.mobi divestment petitionWe want our savings to support a swift, fair, South African and global transition to a socially just, cleaner energy economy and a climate that is safe for ourselves, for vulnerable communities, and future generations; and that takes care of workers in the fossil fuel industry. We do not want our money invested in destructive and increasingly stranded fossil-fuel assets2 while the rest of the world moves to invest in new energy technology.3,4

Dear CEOs of Allan Gray, Coronation, Investec, Old Mutual, Stanlib and the Government Employees Pension Fund,

We call on you – as South Africa’s top asset managers – to build decarbonised, accessible unit trusts and other investment vehicles for the public, and for the Public Investment Corporation to invest the assets of the Government Employees Pension Fund only in ways that support the future world in which beneficiaries are supposed to enjoy their retirements.

We also call on all the members of the South African financial services industry – financial advisers, pension and provident fund trustees, asset managers, investment consultants, fiduciaries and custodians – to support this transition, to create ethical and responsible investment opportunities, and adopt the rapidly developing new global standards5 for climate- and carbon-related financial risk disclosure.

We call on the investment and banking community to cease all new funding in the fossil fuel sector, to publicly embrace robust regulation of existing coal mines and coal-fired power stations, to engage government in support of renewable energy development, and to work towards a complete transition away from fossil fuels by 2050 in accordance with widely recognised scientific imperatives.

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Endorsed by 350 Africa, African Climate Reality Project, amandla.mobi, Centre for Environmental Rights, Climate Action Project (UCT), Cullinan & Associates, Earthlife Africa, Eco-Maties, Global Climate Finance Campaign, Green Anglicans, Greenpop, Groundwork, Oxfam South Africa, People’s Health Movement, SA Climate Action Network, WWF South Africa and SAFCEI.

For media inquiries or to add your organisation’s endorsement, please contact us.

Footnotes

  1. By August 2017, the global divestment movement included 747 institutions and 58,000 individuals representing over $5 trillion in combined portfolio assets. Notable divestees include the cities of Cape Town, Paris, Copenhagen, Melbourne, Seattle, San Francisco; the British Medical Association, Norwegian Sovereign Wealth Fund, World Council of Churches and Axa (European insurance giant).
  2. Grantham Institute at the London School of Economics: “Reaching a goal of limiting climate change to less than two degrees of warming would require us to keep a large proportion of existing fossil fuel reserves in the ground. According to a recent study in Nature, an estimated third of oil reserves, half of gas reserves and more than 80% of known coal reserves are ‘-and referred to as ‘stranded assets’. The value of ‘stranded assets’ might not be fully reflected in the value of fossil fuel companies, which could result in a sudden drop if this risk were priced in.”
  3. Bloomberg New Energy Finance: “Renewable energy sources are set to represent almost three quarters of the $10.2 trillion the world will invest in new power generating technology until 2040, thanks to rapidly falling costs for solar and wind power, and a growing role for batteries, including electric vehicle batteries, in balancing supply and demand.”
  4. BlackRock, the world’s biggest asset manager: “Investors can no longer ignore climate change. Some may question the science behind it, but all are faced with a swelling tide of climate-related regulations and technological disruption.”
  5. In 2015, the Financial Stability Board (FSB) established an industry-led Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) to develop voluntary, consistent climate-related financial risk disclosures. In June 2017, the 32 industry members of the TCFD finalised the recommendations after extensive public engagement and consultation.
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