“Why we are divesting from fossil fuels’, Guardian Media Group chair Neil Berkett – video
GMG becomes largest fund yet known to pull out of coal, oil and gas companies in a move chair Neil Berkett calls a ‘hard-nosed business decision’ justified on ethical and financial grounds.
The Guardian Media Group (GMG) is to sell all the fossil fuel assets in its investment fund of over £800m, making it the largest yet known to pull out of coal, oil and gas companies.
The decision was justified on both financial and ethical grounds, said Neil Berkett, GMG chair: “It is a hard-nosed business decision, but it is influenced by the values of our organisation. It is a holistic decision taking into account all of those things.”
Berkett said fossil fuel assets had performed relatively poorly in recent years and were threatened by future climate change action, while an ethical fund already held by GMG had been a “stellar” performer and renewable energy was growing strongly. “This means we can adopt socially responsible investment criteria without putting at risk the core purpose of GMG’s investment funds: to generate long-term returns that guarantee the financial future and editorial independence of the Guardian in perpetuity,” he said.
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A series of analyses have shown that current reserves of coal, oil and gas are several times greater than can be burned whilst limiting climate change to the internationally agreed limit of 2C. The fast-growing, UN-backed divestment campaign argues that the business models of fossil fuel companies, which continue to spend billions on searching for new reserves, are endangering the climate. The campaign also argues many fossil fuel assets could become worthless if the world’s governments act to curb global warming, a risk taken seriously by the World Bank and the Bank of England.