The decline of the oil industry continues as the world’s largest health charity, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, sold their $187m stake in British Petroleum.
A while ago, we wrote about how the fossil fuel divestment movement is gathering a huge momentum, as more and more groups are moving their financial assets away from the oil industry. As of December 2015, a whopping $3.4 trillion were divested away from fossil fuel, and the trend is continuing.
“We are thrilled that the Gates foundation continues to divest from fossil fuel stocks, but it’s time to divest the rest. Investing in oil companies is completely inconsistent with the Gates foundation mission to ensure that everybody has the chance to live a healthy, productive life,” said Alec Connon, an organiser for theGates Divest campaign, a coalition of scores of social justice groups, politicians and faith leaders in Washington State, where the Foundation is based.
Bill Gates has called the selling off of coal, oil and gas stocks a “false solution” to climate change, but he’s continuing to move away more and more from the oil industry. Since 2014, his investments in major fossil fuel companies has fallen by 85%. He previously dumped his entire holding in ExxonMobil, which was in the even more significant.
But the move likely has just as much to do with economics than it has to do with the environment. An analysis found that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation would have had $1.9bn (£1.3bn) more to spend on its lifesaving health projects if it had divested from fossil fuels and instead invested in greener companies, which is likely one of the reasons why they are divesting.
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is said to be the largest transparently operated private foundation in the world. The primary aims of the foundation are, globally, to enhance healthcare and reduce extreme poverty, and in America, to expand educational opportunities and access to information technology.
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