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Deep-pocketed foundations pledge to divest from fossil fuels

Published on Jan 31, 2014 9:38 AM

WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - More than a dozen foundations representing more than US$2 billion (S$2.5 billion) in assets said Thursday they will stop investing in fossil fuel companies as both the World Bank and United Nations chiefs strengthen calls for divestment from "high carbon" assets.

The Divest-Invest Philanthropy coalition includes foundations, such as the Park Foundation, the John Merck Fund and the Schmidt Family Foundation - co-founded by Google Inc Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt - in the United States, as well as the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust abroad.

Its members said continued investment in fossil fuels presents financial and ethical risks and that it urges other foundations to follow their lead.

"Starting today, we pledge to use all our assets - not just the usual 5 per cent yearly payment of grants - to advance our goals, values and beliefs," said Ellen Dorsey, executive director of the Wallace Global Fund and the originator of the Divest-Invest initiative.

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