Making Sense of the Debate on Fossil Fuel Divestment by RIA CEO Dustyn Lanz (Investment Executive)

January 7th, 2018

January 15, 2017
By Dustyn Lanz

Investors who are concerned about the long-term sustainability of the planet — and their portfolios — are asking increasingly, “Should I divest from fossil fuel companies?” It’s a fair question to ask, especially as New York City recently announced plans to sell off $5 billion in fossil fuel investments in an effort to fight climate change. Although this move has merit as a political statement, climate-proofing a portfolio and positioning it to help solve the climate crisis requires a more nuanced and proactive responsible investment (RI) strategy.

The idea of fossil fuel divestment gained traction a few years ago following a grassroots campaign led by, a New York-based non-profit organization, calling for investors to “take money out of the companies that are heating up the planet.” The goal of this campaign is to foster “a safe climate and a better future.” But will selling shares of fossil fuel companies actually safeguard the climate? A quick analysis reveals this is not so simple.

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