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Municipalities are Protecting their Assets

Vancouver, Seattle, Oslo, Uppsala—a growing list of leading global cities are integrating their sustainability policies with their investments and protecting their pension funds from stranded fossil fuel assets.

On October 19, Oslo’s City Council pledged to ban investments in fossil fuels, a first for a capital city. It will be divesting its $9 billion pension fund (€8 billion) from coal, oil and gas companies. “We are very happy to announce that Oslo will take responsibility for the climate, both through our own policies and our investments,” says Lan Marie Nguyen Berg, of the Green Party in Oslo.

“There’s a strong symbolism when the capital city of our oil producing nation says ‘no’ to investing in fossil fuels. It shows that fossil fuels are history, and that shifting away from them, and to renewables, is the future.”

Arild Hermstad, Norwegian environmental NGO, Future in Our Hands

Oslo joins 48 other cities around the world that have committed to ban investments in coal, oil and gas companies.

Seattle’s mayor has initiated a process to divest the city’s retirement and pension funds out of oil and gas companies – a $17M commitment.

Vancouver was one of the first to talk about possible divestment. In 2013, its City Council expressed the intent to invest the city’s $800M in cash investments and pension funds according to sustainable and ethical criteria, including a fossil fuel screen. “[It is] a potentially groundbreaking example for other Canadian cities,” says Cameron Fenton, director of Canadian Youth Climate Coalition.

Other cities, like Stockholm, have announced similar intentions to review their investments in fossil fuels. Like the others, they see the value in aligning their policies, and ensuring their assets are not stranded with the rest of the fossils.