This month I am calling on the City to reconsider their investment policy and evaluate Council funds held by banks that invest heavily in the fossil fuel industry. The City of Sydney is looked on as a leader in environmental sustainability yet we undermine so much fantastic work by investing significant amounts of money with the big four banks who have large interests in the fossil fuel industry. As an organisation that is facing up to the challenges of climate change we need to ensure that we aren’t investing in rising carbon emissions. The Commonwealth, ANZ, Westpac and NAB banks have loaned almost $19 Billion to new coal and gas projects in the last 6 years.
Recently Stanford University has elected to divest from coal mining companies. Last year the Uniting Church in NSW and ACT also endorsed a fossil fuel divestment policy. It is clear that divestment is on the agenda internationally.
While I felt that it was too ambitious to call on Council to divest immediately I do hope this Notice of Motion will start an important discussion around our investment policy and our broader responsibility to our citizens. As an organisation we have encouraged and supported so many grassroots environmental initiatives. There is a certain whiff of hypocrisy to our operations if we continue to call on residents to ‘do their bit’ whilst our investments support activities that massively undermine our environmental and ethical efforts.