FAQs from the Coalition to Divest

Regarding the “divestment vs shareholder advocacy” discussion underway at the assembly:

See position paper which has some great information in the section titled “What effect would our divestment have on the fossil fuel companies? Wouldn’t shareholder activism be more effective?”.

More on the topic:

From the Saint Paul Area Synod’s resolution: “WHEREAS despite decades of shareholder engagement with fossil fuel companies, the industry continues to spend nearly $2 billion dollars a day searching for additional fossil fuel reserves and over half a million dollars a day lobbying governments for subsidies and support for further extraction”

From a reaction to recent shareholder resolutions (nearly all rejected): “There’s a certain point at which noble failure turns into moral cover – by continuing this process past the point where any reasonable person can see it’s a failure, shareholder “activists” actually help the company they’re targeting”

NOTE re: Portico’s wish to engage with companies: Portico will continue to be invested fossil fuel companies through the non-social-purpose funds. They can continue shareholder engagement there if they wish.

From some information provided by Portico: “Portico has filed 84 company resolutions in the last 8 years on a variety of topics, and 56% have been withdrawn due to constructive dialogue/positive company action including adoption of emission reduction plans, increased transparency and disclosure on risk management and best practices, and publishing sustainability reports. For example, in 2015, we withdrew a shareholder resolution on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction at Costco because they agreed to commit to keeping the growth of their GHG emissions to less than sales growth over the next five years.

[That is, 0 resolutions have been approved, not clear what happened as a result of these conversations. The success that is lifted up (Costco) is notably not a fossil fuel company.]