Strengthening our approach to divestment

We urgently need to reduce our greenhouse emissions and move away from fossil fuels to clean energy - that’s why this week at Council, I asked staff to toughen our approach to divesting from any investments linked to fossil fuels.

We have never directly invested in fossil fuel projects. And since 2008, we have formally included “social responsibility” criteria in our investment policy (including the green investments we already held at that time).

But it's not as easy as saying "we've divested entirely" because every council in the state is constrained by a legislative framework (and Ministerial Investment Order) that limits investment to term deposits and bonds and makes it difficult to invest in smaller, more responsive and progressive institutions.

So on Monday night I asked City staff to strengthen and expand our definition of “environmentally harmful activities” to make sure it’s clear that the production of greenhouse gases includes coal, gas and oil production – and to give preference to financial institutions and products that meet our socially responsible criteria. I've also asked that legislative amendments be identified to enable the City to increase our investment in social responsible activities.

Thanks to the local campaigners from 350.org for maintaining the pressure on divestment from fossil fuels - I fully support their aims and the objectives of the fossil fuel divestment movement. Climate change is the biggest issue we face – I firmly believe that together there is no challenge we can't meet.

You can read more information here: http://www.cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0010/260785/Memo-Relevant-to-Item-6.2.pdf

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