Lena Baastad, mayor of Örebo said: "We need to take action on climate change at various levels. Our efforts are more meaningful when we ensure that our financial assets don't work in the opposite direction." Örebo is the 30th local authority worldwide to take this step. It follows in the footsteps of cities such as San Francisco and Seattle in the US and the Dutch town of Boxtel.
Olivia Linander, 350 divestment organizer for Sweden, called on other local authorities to follow Örebro’s lead. Cities serious about sustainability need to follow Örebro's example. You cannot talk about sustainability while funding an industry that causes climate wreckage. Örebro’s announcement is the latest in a rapidly growing number of institutions choosing to pull their funds out of oil, coal and gas companies.
It is widely accepted that a finite amount of greenhouse gas emissions can be emitted to stay below the internationally agreed threshold of 2°C of warming. Yet companies continue to invest billions of dollars a year in searching for new, more risky fossil fuels. In response, more and more institutions are pulling their funds out of these companies and, since the beginning of the year, the global fossil fuel divestment movement has doubled in size.
What started with a few US universities has grown into a movement comprising institutions – including universities, religious organizations and charitable funds – with a combined asset size of more than $50 billion. Among those institutions are the World Council of Churches, the British Medical Association and Stanford University, all of whom have taken the vital first steps towards becoming fossil free this year.
Ahead of last month’s UN Climate Summit in New York, the Rockefeller Foundation – heading by the Rockefeller family, which made its fortune in oil – became one of the campaigns highest-profile wins to date. Last week Glasgow University also joined the ranks, becoming the first University in Europe to divest from fossil fuel investments.
It followed in the footsteps of the Sydney University which, in August, became Australia’s first academic institution to make a divestment commitment. Meanwhile the Church of Sweden one of the first institutions to take up divestment, recently announced it had completed the process, making its assets of more than €540 million fossil free.