Foundations With $1.8 Billion Plan Divestment From Fossil Fuels

Jan 30, 2014 2:53 pm ET

Jan. 30 (Bloomberg) -- A group of 17 philanthropic groups including the Wallace Global Fund and John Merck Fund with a combined asset base of about $1.8 billion has vowed to divest from fossil-fuel companies and invest in clean-energy technology.

“The magnitude of the climate crisis requires that we no longer conduct business as usual,” Ellen Dorsey, executive director for the Wallace Global Fund, said today on a conference call with reporters. “If we own fossil fuels, we own climate change.”

The groups are shifting their funding efforts away from carbon-based fuels amid growing international awareness of climate change. They’re encouraging other foundations to follow their example. Boston-based Trillium Asset Management LLC, founded in 1982, said it’s the oldest company to focus exclusively on sustainable investments, according to its website.

The Wallace Global Fund, which began divesting from fossil- fuel companies about four years ago, also was an early-stage investor in Tesla Motors Inc., SolarCity Corp. and Nest Labs Inc., which Google Inc. is buying for $3.2 billion, Dorsey said.

“We’re supporting the growing demand for investors to get out of fossil fuels,” she said. “You can do well by doing what’s also right.”

--Editors: Will Wade, Tina Davis