Big news in the world of philanthropy today: the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has completely divested from the oil giant BP. The nonprofit, which focuses much of its efforts on global health issues, sold its $187 million stake in the oil giant BP sometime in the final quarter of 2015, and since the foundation doesn’t comment publicly on its investments, the move was revealed in a recent filing to the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
Bill Gates has personally chided fossil fuels divestment in the past, calling it a “false solution” to the problem of climate change. The value of the foundation’s investments in major coal, oil, and gas companies has dropped by 85 percent since 2014, so the divestment could be largely motivated by financial factors. The Gates foundation previously held stocks worth $824 million in ExxonMobil, but sold that entire holding in the last quarter of 2014—again after stocks had lost value.
Despite the sales, it isn’t likely that either of the foundation’s namesakes—or anyone else from the organization, for that matter—will make a public comment about the reasons behind the divestment from BP or other companies. That won’t keep divestment campaigners from celebrating the stock sales as a victory, though. “We are thrilled that the Gates foundation continues to divest from fossil fuel stocks, but it’s time to divest the rest,” said Alec Connon, an organizer for the Gates Divest campaign, which is based in the foundation’s home state of Washington. “Investing in oil companies is completely inconsistent with the Gates foundation mission to ensure that everybody has the chance to live a healthy, productive life.”
Via The Guardian