The National Trust is reforming its investment strategy and will divest from fossil fuel assets, which currently represent 4% of its £1 billion stock market portfolio.
Previously the Trust had required that no investment be made directly in companies which derived more than 10% of their turnover from the extraction of thermal coal or oil from oil sands. Now it will:
- Divest from all fossil fuel companies within the next three years.
- Establish a long-term goal to reduce the carbon footprint of its investment portfolio.
- Engage with companies where it has an investment to encourage them to improve their environmental performance.
- Seek out opportunities to support green start-up businesses
CFO Peter Vermeulen said: “Over the years we’ve gradually evolved our investment strategy to reduce our carbon footprint. Many organisations have been working hard to persuade fossil fuel companies to invest in green alternatives. These companies have made insufficient progress and now we have decided to divest from fossil fuel companies. We have set a three-year timescale but expect the majority of divestments will be accomplished in the first 12 months.” Vermeulen added: “We want to protect the environment by becoming more energy efficient. 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.”
The Trust looks after 780 miles of coastline, 248,000 hectares of land and over 500 historic houses, castles, monuments, gardens, parks and nature reserves. In addition 43 per cent of all rainwater in England, Wales and Northern Ireland drains through National Trust areas.