Australia’s first Divest Invest Conference to be held in Sydney on April 5

Tuesday, 1 March 2016

Australia’s first conference for investors seeking to effectively divest from fossil fuels and invest in climate solutions will be held on April 5 in Sydney’s CBD. The conference is being run by The Climate Institute with the support of the Australian Environmental Grantmakers Network (AEGN).

The conference was initiated by Australian and international philanthropists as part of the global Divest Invest movement. Divest Invest calls on investors of every stripe - institutional, family and individual - to hold themselves accountable for the impacts of their investments by divesting from the fossil fuel industries that are deepening the climate crisis, and investing instead in climate solutions.

“It was announced at the Paris climate summit on December 2 last year that total assets held by organisations and individuals committing to Divest Invest had surged from $50bn to $3.4 trillion in just over a year,” said Sue Mathews, board member of AEGN and trustee of The Mullum Trust. “These organisations include global insurers like Allianz and AXA which joined superannuation funds from California, Norway and Australia, as well as a broad group of trusts and foundations, churches, colleges and other endowments.”

Ms Mathews said the conference is aimed at investors who are interested in moving their investments from climate problems to climate solutions. Such investors run the gamut from philanthropists to councils, universities to unions, as well as superannuation funds and others.

John Connor, CEO of The Climate Institute said, “This conference is an important milestone because there are a growing number of investors in Australia who would like to Divest Invest, but they need to know exactly what this will mean – for investment outcomes, for the many individual constituents that they represent, and for their fiduciary duties.”

“This conference is aimed at providing information, analysis, practical insights, inspiration and strong networks for those wanting to more actively manage their investments,” he said. “Not only does Divest Invest have the power to redirect capital, to reduce risk and to create value, for many investors it is also about creating cultural, political and technological tipping points.”

The Conference will be opened with a keynote address by Rockefeller Brothers Fund President Stephen Heintz. In 2014, the $US 860 million Fund made global headlines when it announced one of the largest divestment decisions to date. Mr Heintz will set out the reasons behind that decision and some of the practical issues involved.

Other speakers already confirmed include Dr John Hewson and others, with direct Australian and Asian experience from Global Asset Consultants Mercer, the Investor Group on Climate Change and other Australian institutions, universities and advocacy groups including 350.org and Market Forces.

Conference information including registration, the conference program and other details are available at www.divestinvest.org.au.

For more information
Brinsley Marlay | Media Manager, The Climate Institute | 0422 140 555