It is a turning point for the divestment movement which aims to divert finances away from fossil fuels to avoid the catastrophic economic consequences of the Carbon Bubble.
The funds' decision to collectively take a big step away from fossil fuels has been interpreted as a sign that the divestment movement is no longer limited to pension and health investors. On the contrary, it is beginning to move into the mainstream and will bring awareness to the public, putting pressure on larger funds and corporations with large stakes in the fossil fuel industry.
Among the seventeen philanthropic funds to commit to the divestment are the Park Foundation and the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust, two of the world's largest foundations with individual assets of more than $300 million. Joining them in their stand against climate change are a merger of powerful funds such as the Russell Family Foundation, the Educational Foundation of America and the John Merck Fund.
The announcement comes after a recent study conducted by Oxford University demonstrated that the divestment campaign had been the catalyst for increasingly negative views of fossil fuel companies. The report concluded that: “divestment announcements are thus more likely to impact coal stock prices.”
The divestment also comes at a critical time as increased pressure is being put of UK financial institutions over the inevitable outcomes of vested financial interests with fossil fuel corporations. Continued campaigning from 350.org's 'Fossil Free' campaign saw five human carbon bubbles visit the Bank of England in November to warn of the impending financial crisis.