This Post was submitted by Climate Scorecard US Country Manager Stephanie Gagnon
350.org is a climate-focused organization based in the United States that operates internationally. Founded in 2008, the NGO mobilizes activists to fight climate change at the grassroots level, opposing new construction of coal plants and pipelines, supporting renewable energy solutions, and cutting financial flows to fossil fuels. The organization’s mission is to “end the age of fossil fuels and build a world of community-led renewable energy for all.”
350.org is responsible for the highly successful Fossil Free divestment project, which mobilizes campaigns and campaigners to ask institutions to: freeze new investment in fossil fuel companies; divest from direct ownership and any commingled funds that include fossil fuel public equities and corporate bonds within 5 years; and end their fossil fuels sponsorship.
The project has now collected more than 1300 divestment commitments, valuing almost $15 trillion. Most of the organizations committing to divest are faith-based organizations and educational institutions—although significant commitments have also been made by philanthropic foundations, governments, and pension funds.
Divestment has tangible impacts on pollution from fossil fuel companies: a 2018 report by Goldman Sachs showed that the “divestment movement has been a key driver of the coal sector’s 60% de-rating over the past five years,” and in 2016 coal company Peabody listed divestment as a driver of its bankruptcy.
The Fossil Free divestment project has been highly successful in encouraging divestment in the nonprofit sector, but commitments from the private sector and government lag behind. In the United States, the project could be scaled up at the local and state level by building in commitments to divest public assets from the fossil fuel industry to climate pledges and plans.
Universities are the most visible institutions with divestment commitments, as student campaigners for divestment often engage in public protests, demonstrations, and social media campaigns to pressure their institutions to divest. This momentum can be harnessed at the national and global level to encourage greater commitments from networks of universities and organizations throughout the world.
Eric Garcetti, Mayor of Los Angeles and Chair of C40 Cities
Telephone: 213-978-0616 (Julie Ciardullo, Director of the Office of the C40 Chair)
Address: 200 N. Spring Street Room 303 | Los Angeles, CA | 90012