What We’re Dealing With
Divestment is “the act of selling off a business/es, or of no longer investing money in something,” (Cambridge Dictionary). Basically pulling your money from organizations that you no longer believe to be of sound investment, or that you have come to disagree with as a result of their corporate actions and operations. In the context of climate change, the movement to divest represents the growing trend to withdraw investments from companies that deal in fossil fuels (such as coal & petroleum), and consequently endanger our future and that of the planet.
Oil companies make up some of the largest corporations on the planet, and it takes an astounding amount of money to maintain and grow their operations. Not only do many of these companies receive considerable tax breaks and subsidies (as well as externalize the environmental costs), they also collect huge cash injections from private investors. These investors may be individuals, but often times they are management funds, or collective investments, from a large number of people who may not be fully aware of where exactly their money is ending up.
For many, this type of investment may come in the form of pensions savings, where the initial priority is often the financial return, rather than what organizations the funds are supporting. This pattern of passive investment on behalf of citizens is what social and environmental activists are drawing attention to with their call to “go fossil free.”