Stephen Heintz Discusses Divestment Progress at European Green Party Conference

  • RBF President Stephen Heintz spoke alongside fellow panelists Rev. Hendrik Grape of the Church of Sweden, James Randerson of The Guardian, moderator May Boeve of 350.org, and Julia Christian of Fossil Free SOAS. (Photo courtesy of Reinhard Bütikofer)

RBF President Stephen Heintz spoke about the Fund's experiences around its divestment and impact investment process during a panel discussion organized by the European Green Party and 350.org. He was joined by representatives from European organizations who are divesting from fossil fuels: the Church of Sweden, the Guardian Media Group, and SOAS University of London.

Heintz outlined the moral and economic arguments for divesting, and discussed the challenges of eliminating fossil fuels from the Fund's endowment. “You can't just throw a switch overnight and divest. It’s complicated for all kinds of reasons,” Heintz said. “It is possible if you go at it with intention and are honest about the challenges and how long it’s going to take. We are divesting, but it’s going to take us three years to get down to zero and to do it responsibly.” 

The International Conference on Divestment was organized ahead of November's UN Framework Convention on Climate Change meeting in Paris in order to encourage further divestment, discuss the risks of the 'carbon bubble,' and highlight opportunities for a sustainable financial system.

Related Links

The Fund's Divestment Statement (September 2014)

The Guardian: "The fossil fuel path is immoral and financially imprudent" (March 30, 2015)

Chronicle of Philanthropy: "Impact Investing Can Help Foundations Avoid Obsolescence" (March 18, 2015)

The New York Times: "Rockefellers, Heirs to an Oil Fortune, Will Divest Charity From Fossil Fuels" (September 21, 2014)