As the pension fund is the largest state investor in the world, renewable energy proponents are hoping that this move will set a precedent for investment into the market for other large investors. Proponents also hope the details disclosed on April 4th will include allowing for the direct investment of state capital into large renewable energy projects where needed.
As previously mentioned, WWF and 350.org have been working on a series of campaigns, including “Seize Your Power,” in an attempt to convince financial institutions to make investment mandates for renewable energy. But while this recent victory has come from the government sector, the organizations have been focusing much of their efforts on colleges and students. By appealing directly to college students, the goal has been to create campus movements to mandate college pension funds invest in renewables. While the idea of sustainable and ethical investment holds much appeal for this demographic, and it has a history dating back to a Boycott, Divest, and Sanction campaign against the apartheid South African government, it hasn’t been an easy battle. Harvard University’s President recently rejected a divestment from fossil fuels, saying, “The endowment is a resource, not an instrument to impel social or political change.” Still, students across the world remain engaged in environmental and technological progress and increasingly see the sustainable management of their wealth as critical to creating a bright future.