Divestment involves selling all shares in unethical companies. The global fossil fuel divestment campaign launched in the fall of 2012; to date hundreds of universities, municipalities, religious institutions, and foundations have divested.1 It has grown faster than any other divestment campaign in history.2
The fossil fuel divestment campaign has undoubtedly brought the issue of climate change to the fore, on an unprecedented scale and astonishingly swiftly. Divestment does not directly affect companies’ share prices or their ability to attract investment because the shares are simply sold, at the price they are worth, to different shareholders and companies who don’t share divesters’ ethical concerns.3
2. Ansar, Atif, Ben Caldecott, and James Tilbury. 2013. “Stranded Assets and the Fossil Fuel Divestment Campaign: What Does Divestment Mean for the Valuation of Fossil Fuel Assets?” Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment, University of Oxford.
3. This is different from changing banks, which does actually increase or decrease the amount of money the bank has to invest.
4. Ansar et al., pg. 14