The National Trust to cease investment in fossil fuel firms

James Marshall
July 6, 2019

Latest news by the National Trust suggest that it will sell off fossil shares from fuel companies.

A Guardian investigation past year revealed the trust had invested tens of millions of pounds in oil, gas and mining companies, despite having previously pledged to cut down its own use of fossil fuels and warning about the impact of climate change.

Currently, the Trust has around £40 million (€44.5 million) of its £1 billion of assets invested in firms that derive less than 10% of their turnover from production of oil and other energy-related renewables.

The charity invests 45 million pounds ($56.61 million) in fossil fuel companies - 4% of its one billion pound stock market portfolio - despite having itself warned of the dangers of climate change.

A three-year timescale has been given but it is expected the majority of divestments will be accomplished in the first 12 months.

Speaking to the BBC's Today programme, he added: "As a conservation charity [we] believe that after decades' worth of lobbying not enough has been done by the oil and gas companies, and for that reason we're looking to withdraw our investment and invest in companies that are looking to deliver environmental benefits as well as financial returns".

Telegraph Money crunched the numbers to see the impact of removing fossil fuel stocks from a fund tracking the British stock market.

The charity also aims to encourage firms it invests in to improve their sustainable practices, support more green startups, and establish a long-term goal to reduce carbon emissions.

National Trust director-general Hilary McGrady said: "Returns from our investments are vital for helping us protect and care for special places across the nation.

We would not expect this divestment to have a negative effect on financial returns and we know that our members and supporters are eager for us to play our part in tackling climate change through everything we do", he said. "This change is part of our ongoing commitment".

The Trust is Europe's largest conservation charity and looks after 780 miles of coastline, 248,000 hectares of land and over 500 historic houses, castles, monuments, gardens, parks and nature reserves. In the last four years we've created our own green heat and power through the design and build of heat pumps, hydro schemes, solar PV and wood fuel boilers.

It also has a plan to phase out single-use plastics from its shops and "substantially reduce" it in its cafes by 2022.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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