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UN’s Jeffrey Sachs Says Divest From Fossil Fuels

The only way companies can be influenced to change their businesses if there is no more profitable way they can do business.

PEOPLE SACHS

Jeffrey Sachs, director at the U.N. Sustainable Development Solutions network and special adviser to U.N. Secretary general Ban Ki-Moon, says stocks of companies working with fossil fuels should not be bought, and those who have them in their portfolios should divest.

Sachs wrote a very strongly worded Opinion piece, published in LiveMint. He said proposed a solution that may sound draconian but is stated in no-nonsense language that unless fossil fuels are curbed dramatically and completely phased out by 2070, “the world will face unacceptable risks from human induced global warming.” 

The only way companies can be influenced to change their businesses if there is no more profitable way they can do business. “Divestment is one answer, ” Sachs writes. If these companies are “starved of investment capital, ” they will be forced to make the change away from fossil fuels. In addition, one who is concerned with global climate change will likely feel uncomfortable holding an oil or gas company’s shares in an investment portfolio. This discomfort is expressed by many university students whose institutions of higher learning have oil and gas companies in their portfolios. Sachs advocated student activism to spur on divestment from such companies.

According to Pensions & Investments, Sachs also said investments should be made in developing countries to create cleaner fuel alternatives. Lady Lynn Forester de Rothschild added at a conference that “When we talk with companies, we have to be very clear with them that we care about issues like their carbon footprint, ” according to P&I.

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