Guardian Media Group divests from fossil fuel industry
The Guardian Media Group (GMG), owner of the Guardian and Observer newspapers and websites, has announced it plans to divest all fossil fuel assets from its £800million+ investment fund.
This commitment joins the growing divestment campaign, which the Guardian are actively supporting through its 'Keep It In the Ground Campaign''; a campaign launched in March in partnership with 350.org.
Neil Berkett, chair of the GMG, commented on the groups decision to divest: “It is a hard-nosed business decision, but it is influenced by the values of our organisation...This [need to influence] is a major step in a strategy of managed divestment. It must be executed carefully to preserve our investment returns. But it remains the right thing to do. It is a policy we are proud to have initiated at a time when climate change has become an issue not just for investors, news organisations or UN negotiators – but for all of us.”
The 'Keep It In the Ground Campaign' is currently pressuring the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Welcome Trust to divest from fossil fuels. According to the Guardian 'In 2014 the Wellcome Trust had £564m invested in Shell, BP, Schlumberger, Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton alone.
The Gates Foundation has a financial stake of over $1bn in fossil fuel companies'. These investments arguably contradict the charities' mission statements and work which, according to Jonathon Porrit, have been 'extremely outspoken about the impact of climate change'.
The Guardian's campaign is asking both charities to 'commit now to divesting from the top 200 fossil fuel companies within five years and to immediately freeze any new investments in those companies'.
Alan Rushbridger, editor of the Guardian, commented on why the Guardian is supporting the divestment campaign: “The usual rule of newspaper campaigns is that you don’t start one unless you know you’re going to win it. This one will almost certainly be won in time: the physics is unarguable. But we are launching our campaign... in the firm belief that it will force the issue now into the boardrooms and inboxes of people who have billions of dollars at their disposal”.
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