Exciting news! The San Francisco Board of Supervisors just voted unanimously to support fossil fuel divestment. Here's a press release we just put out:
San Francisco Board of Supervisors Unanimously Pass Resolution Urging Fossil Fuel Divestment
Resolution urges the city’s retirement system to divest over $583 million from the fossil fuel industry
SAN FRANCISCO -- The San Francisco Board of Supervisors (SFERS) passed a unanimous resolution this afternoon calling on the San Francisco Employee Retirement System to divest over $583 million invested in the 200 corporations that hold the majority of the world’s fossil fuel reserves.
The resolution makes San Francisco the third city in the nation after Ithaca and Seattle to push for fossil fuel divestment. If the SFERS Board agrees to the Supervisors’ request, it will become the largest pension fund in the country to divest from the fossil fuel industry.
“Divestment is an important part of our city response to climate change,” said Supervisor John Avalos, who introduced the resolution.
The San Francisco Employee’s Retirement System (SFERS) is a roughly $16 billion pension fund that serves more than 52,000 active and retired employees of the City and County of San Francisco and their survivors. According to SFERS Executive Director Jay Huish, the fund currently owns $583.7 million of public holdings in 91 of top 200 fossil fuel companies. Some of SFERS’ largest fossil fuel holdings include $112 million in ExxonMobil, $60 million in Chevron, $26 million in Shell Oil, $17 million in Occidental Petroleum, and $11 million in the China National Offshore Oil Corporation. (1)
The push for fossil fuel divestment is part of a new national campaign, Go Fossil Free, that is modeled on the 1980s movement to divest from apartheid South Africa. The movement has spread to over 100 cities and 300 colleges and universities across the country. Four colleges, Unity, Hampshire, Sterling, and College of the Atlantic, have committed to divestment. There are also active campaigns on every University of California campus. Earlier this spring, UC Berkeley’s student government voted to divest their $2 million budget from fossil fuels. (2)
In San Francisco, the divestment campaign was led by 350 Bay Area and the national 350.org campaign and supported by groups including SEIU 1021, SF Bay Chapter of the Sierra Club, Rainforest Action Network, Center for Biological Diverstiy, and more.
“San Francisco’s commitment is a big victory for the burgeoning fossil fuel divestment movement,” said Bill McKibben, founder of 350.org, one of the organizations helping lead Go Fossil Free campaign. “The Bay Area will spend billions adapting to climate change--it makes no sense at all to simultaneously invest in the corporations making that work necessary.”