(See video below)
By the time the Ball drops in Times Square on December 31st, The Rockefeller Brothers Fund–a private charitable foundation established in 1940–committed to reducing their exposure to coal and tar sands investments to less than one percent of their total portfolio. Could be a great way to end the new year, or “the end of the hydro carbon age” as Deborah Burke of the Fund’s Sustainable Development team quoted Bill McKibben from yesterday’s People’s Climate March.
Would father, John D. Rockefeller, Jr., the philanthropist who founded the fund, approve?
Perhaps. According to the fund’s Sustainable Development Guidelines, the fund already supports global stewardship that is ecologically based, economically sound, socially just, culturally appropriate, and consistent with intergenerational equity. The Fund encourages government, business, and civil society to work collaboratively on climate change, to acknowledge the moral and ethical consequences of inaction, and to make it an integral part of all development planning and activity.
As a philanthropist whose father founded Standard Oil, John D. Rockefeller was the richest American of all time. “Baron” mind, His wealth was estimated at $253 billion, when adjusted for inflation.
In the shadow of yesterdays’ Climate March, The Fund’s announcement falls in line with their Sustainable Development program which focuses its U.S. grantmaking on building a green economy at the federal, state, and local levels.
Goal: Advancing Solutions to Climate Change
- Building public and policymaker understanding and support for a range of actions to address the threat of climate change.
- Supporting implementation efforts to build a clean energy economy at the federal, state, and local levels.
- Supporting efforts to reduce reliance on carbon-intensive energy sources.
- Supporting targeted efforts to advance international progress on climate change.
Given the RBF’s deep commitment to combating climate change, the Fund is now committing to a two-step process to address its desire to divest from investments in fossil fuels.
Our immediate focus will be on coal and tar sands, two of the most intensive sources of carbon emissions. We are working to eliminate the Fund’s exposure to these energy sources as quickly as possible.
Given the structure of some commingled investment funds and investments in highly diversified energy companies, we recognize there may continue to be minimal investments in our portfolio in those energy sectors, but we are committed to reducing our exposure to coal and tar sands to less than one percent of the total portfolio by the end of 2014. As we take the steps to divest from coal and tar sands investments, we are also undertaking a comprehensive analysis of our exposure to any remaining fossil fuel investments and will work with the RBF Investment Committee and board of trustees to determine an appropriate strategy for further divestment over the next few years.