The Rockefeller Brothers Fund, a family foundation built from the fortunes of Standard Oil, announced its divestment from coal and fossil fuel investments.
Despite its roots, the $860 million fund said it has begun a process to reduce exposure to coal and the oil sands to less than 1% of the total portfolio by the end of the year.
“We are quite convinced that if [John D. Rockefeller] was 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,” – Stephen Heintz, president of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund
According to the fund’s President Stephen Heintz, the foundation created for the oil tycoon family’s charitable activities will also analyze ways to divest from fossil fuel over the next few years.
“In uncertain and volatile markets, these financial goals are not easy to achieve,” the Rockefeller fund said. “Therefore, our divestment from fossil fuels, which is now underway, will be accomplished through a careful process of evaluating our exposure and a phased approach that proceeds as quickly as is prudent.”
The announcement culminated the New York-based fund’s efforts to “better align its endowed assets with its mission” since 2010.
Its board of trustees had approved a commitment of up to 10% of assets to “investments consistent with the foundation’s sustainable development program goals.” These interests focused on strategies that improve energy efficiency and lessen the impact of climate change as well as “fields of democratic practice and peace building.”
“We are quite convinced that if [John D. Rockefeller] was 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,” Heintz said.
According to consulting firm Arabella Advisors, more than 180 institutions and some 650 individuals representing over $50 billion have pledged to divest from fossil fuels as of September 2014.
Last week, the California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS) also announced plans to almost triple its current clean energy and technology investments.
“Targeting the clean energy and technology sector represents a good investment opportunity because it positions CalSTRS for a low-carbon future,” CIO Chris Ailman said. “If a meaningful price on carbon emissions is established, CalSTRS believes its clean energy and low-carbon investment could grow to almost $9.5 billion, nearly seven times the current level of investment.”
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