The growing movement of shifting investments away from fossil fuels and toward greener alternatives garnered perhaps its most symbolically important news yet. The heirs to the Rockefeller fortune, which came well over a century ago when brothers John and William Rockefeller founded the Standard Oil Company, have publicly announced they would divest completely from any remaining oil investments.
The Divest-Invest movement, whose goal is to withdraw a total of $50 billion from fossil fuels in the next five years, now have over 800 global investors on board.
“John D Rockefeller, the founder of Standard Oil, moved America out of whale oil and into petroleum,” Stephen Heintz, president of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, said in a release. “We are quite convinced that if he were alive today, as an astute businessman looking out to the future, he would be moving out of fossil fuels and investing in clean, renewable energy.”
According to a story in The Guardian, “The Rockefeller Brothers Fund over the years has been a big supporter of environmental causes, including to campaign groups opposed to fracking and the Keystone XL pipeline, which made for an awkward fit at times with its continued investment in oil and gas. The family plans to first divest from tar sands commitments.
“The Rockefeller Brothers Fund controls about $860m in assets… about 7 percent are invested in fossil fuels.
“In addition to the Rockefellers, the World Council of Churches, which represents some 590 million people in 150 countries — also pulled its investments from fossil fuels on Monday.”
More than 30 cities, including Seattle and Santa Monica, and a number of universities have joined the cause, although several, like the University of California and Harvard University, have resisted the calls so far.