Amidst climate talks, Rockefeller Brothers switch tracks

Climate-Summit_English_RGB-1024x582In the run-up to the UN Climate Summit, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund has announced its intention to divest itself from fossil fuels. Will it have a significant impact or is this simply a cheap publicity stunt?

Whilst not directly related to the advancement of future transportation, we at TransportEvolved know that an important part of that future rests on the de-carbonization of the transportation fleet.

From their press release:

The Rockefeller Brothers Fund has been working to better align its endowed assets with its mission since 2010, when the board of trustees approved a commitment of up to 10 percent of the endowment to investments consistent with the foundation’s Sustainable Development program goals.

Of course, the irony in this story comes from the heritage of this fund: Oil. The fund was created in 1940 and fueled by profits from John. D. Rockefeller’s Standard Oil. Current estimates suggest it has about $860M in its coffers.

But will it make a difference?

The release goes on to target specific investments around coal and tar sand oil extraction and notes that they will be the first to go. This is obviously good news for environmentalists but, is the fund big enough to make a dent on progress in those fields? Financially, when you contrast this against the nearly $50B profit reported by Exxon Mobile last year you have to imagine that this is tantamount to you dropping a quarter out of your pocket however, viewed from the public media stage, this is a message to the world that smart money is switching tracks and that, is where we think the power of this action lies. Smart money follows smart money and public sentiment is behind these moves – something that’s not always true of big business investment.

Stephen Heintz, Rockefeller Brothers FundThe fund is looking at other ways to divest its other investments and analysts are already citing this as an astute move by the president of the fund, Stephen Heintz.

What do you think, leopard, spots, anyone?


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