Rockefeller Foundation pulls out of ExxonMobil

Mar 23, 2016, 6:11 PM EDT
(Source: amyroat/flickr)
(Source: amyroat/flickr)

The Rockefeller Foundation will pull out of Exxon entirely as it divests from all fossil fuel holdings.

The Guardian reports:

A charitable fund of the Rockefeller family – who are sitting on a multibillion-dollar oil fortune – has said it will withdraw all its investments from fossil fuel companies. The Rockefeller Family Fund, a charity set up in 1967 by descendants of John D Rockefeller, said on Wednesday that it would divest from all fossil fuel holdings “as quickly as possible”. The fund, which was founded by Martha, John, Laurance, Nelson, and David Rockefeller, singled out ExxonMobil for particular attention describing the world’s largest oil company as “morally reprehensible”. John D Rockefeller, who was the richest person in US history when he died in 1937, made his fortune from Standard Oil a precursor of ExxonMobil. “There is no sane rationale for companies to continue to explore for new sources of hydrocarbons,” the RFF, which has relatively small total holdings of $130m (£92m), said in a statement. “We must keep most of the already discovered reserves in the ground if there is any hope for human and natural ecosystems to survive and thrive in the decades ahead.

Bloomberg notes:

“It’s not surprising that they’re divesting from the company since they’re already funding a conspiracy against us,” Alan Jeffers, a spokesman for Irving, Texas-based Exxon, said in an e-mailed statement on Wednesday. Exxon, which traces its roots to the 1880s and John D. Rockefeller’s integration of refineries and Pennsylvania oilfields, has dismissed the InsideClimate News allegations as products of “anti-oil and gas activists who cherry-picked documents” to distort the company’s role in climate research. Fossil-fuel investments represent about 6 percent of the Rockefeller Family Fund’s $130 million in holdings, Lee Wasserman, director of the foundation, said in a telephone interview on Wednesday.

Separately, Reuters writes:

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has ruled Exxon Mobil Corp (XOM.N) must include a climate change resolution in its annual shareholder proxy, a defeat for the world's largest oil producer, which had argued it already provides adequate carbon disclosures. In a Tuesday letter to Exxon seen by Reuters, the SEC said the oil producer cannot keep a proposal spearheaded by New York state's comptroller from a full shareholder vote at the company's annual meeting in May. If approved, the proposal would force Exxon to outline specific risks that climate change or legislation designed to curb it could pose to its ability to operate profitably. Exxon had argued that the proposal was vague and that it already publishes carbon-related information for shareholders, including a 2014 report on its website entitled, "Energy and Carbon – Managing the Risks." The SEC found those reports do not go far enough.

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