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Tsvetana Paraskova

Tsvetana Paraskova

Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews. 

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Rockefeller Foundation, Created By Oil, Ditches Oil Investments

The Rockefeller Foundation, set up by John D. Rockefeller in 1913, has decided to divest from fossil fuels and not make any new investment in the industry, the president of the Rockefeller Foundation, Rajiv Shah, told CNN in an interview published on Friday.

Funds for the creation of the $5-billion foundation initially came from the oil money of Rockefeller and the company Standard Oil he founded at the end of the 19th century.

The Rockefeller Foundation is the latest investor to commit to divesting from fossil fuels as a growing number of institutional investors are shifting their focus to low-carbon energy investments, while those who are still invested in oil and gas demand transparency in emission reporting and preparedness for the energy transition.

“Burning fossil fuels is not necessary to sustain our economy and economic growth over the long run — and it's detrimental to our climate future,” the foundation’s president Shah told Matt Egan of CNN Business.

“We’re doing it now and we would love for our peer institutions to join us,” Shah said.

The Rockefeller Foundation is not the first endowment of the Rockefeller dynasty to cut ties with the fossil fuel sector.

The Rockefeller Brothers Fund, created in 1940 by John D. Rockefeller’s sons, divested from fossil fuels five years ago. In May this year, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund (RBF) released a case study showing how its investment returns beat market benchmarks since divesting from fossil fuels five years ago.

“When we joined the divestment movement, we were convinced that a more profitable and less risky investment portfolio could be constructed without exposure to fossil fuels,” said Valerie Rockefeller, great-great-granddaughter of John D. Rockefeller and chair of the RBF board of trustees.

Earlier this month, one of the biggest pension funds, the $226-billion New York State Common Retirement Fund, said it was undertaking a review of all energy companies it is invested in to assess their readiness for the energy transition and dump those considered riskiest in climate-related investment.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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  • Mamdouh Salameh on December 19 2020 said:
    This is no more than a publicity stunt aimed at burnishing the Rockefeller Foundation’s environmental credentials. It will have no effect whatsoever on global oil demand or the quintessential role of oil in the the global economy.

    Furthermore, it could be reversed once oil prices and stocks surge to higher levels thus enabling the Foundation to earn more from its oil stocks in the same manner that Norway’s Sovereign Fund, the world’s largest, reversed its decision to divest from oil and gas three years ago.

    Dr Mamdouh G Salameh
    International Oil Economist
    Visiting Professor of Energy Economics at ESCP Europe Business School, London

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