Divestment – what is it and why it works

Divestment Day 2016 is coming up! Here’s a quick guide to what divestment is, the successes that divestment campaigns have had so far, and what we are doing this year.

What’s divestment?

Divestment is the opposite of investment. It’s rearranging your finances so that you aren’t supporting the fossil fuel industry through your bank, investments, superannuation or insurance. We have power as consumers to choose financial services products in-line with our strongly held convictions about climate change.

We can choose to no longer support financial institutions that are investing in fossil fuels. By divesting from such corporations, we are sending a clear and loud message that their involvement with the fossil fuel sector is damaging their brand’s reputation and tangibly affecting consumer relations. Read more about the concept of divestment here.

What has it achieved?

Individuals are divesting and so too are institutions. Local councils are divesting. Super funds are divesting. Churches are divesting. Universities are divesting. This all adds up – globally, $3.4 trillion has been divested! Check out how the divestment commitments add up globally.

Closer to home, the Adani Carmichael mine has had financial support withdrawn by the Commonwealth and NAB banks, bringing the total up to 14 banks around the world that have now distanced themselves from projects that would open up the Galilee Basin to coal mining. Only ANZ and Westpac remain as potential Australian financiers, and you can tell them to get on board and rule out financing the southern hemisphere’s biggest coal mine here.

All of Australia’s Big 4 banks have publicly publicly supported the international agreement to limit global warming to less than 2°C above pre-industrial levels. However, their words are empty without meaningful action. Their scorecards are damning:

bank divestment scorecard

Click here to see where your bank stands on funding fossil fuels.

What are we doing for Divestment Day 2016?

NQCC has run some divestment campaigns in the past. In 2014 a public forum was organised that provided information about stranded fossil fuel assets and divestment. Read the wrap-up here.

This adorable “Kittens for the Reef” video was produced for NQCC last year.

This year, we are joining with Market Forces for the national day of action on 7th October. We will be visiting the local banks with the message of “If you choose fossil fuels, your customers will choose another bank!Register your interest for our event here. There will be more information to follow!

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  • Maree Dibella