In September heirs to the Rockefeller family, which made its vast fortune from oil, sold their investments in fossil fuels to reinvest in clean energy, reports say. http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-29310
The Rockefeller Brothers Fund joins a coalition of “philanthropists” pledging to rid themselves of more than $50bn (£31bn) in fossil fuel assets.
The announcement was made on Monday, a day before the UN climate change summit and before oil prices began to slide.
Rockefeller Brothers Fund director Stephen Heintz said the move to divest from fossil fuels would be in line with oil tycoon John D Rockefeller’s wishes,
“We are quite convinced that if he were alive today, as an astute businessman looking out to the future, he would be moving out of fossil fuels and investing in clean, renewable energy,” Mr Heintz said in a statement.
The philanthropic organisation was founded in 1940 by the sons of John D Rockefeller. As of 31 July 2014, the fund’s investment assets were worth $860m.
“There is a moral imperative to preserve a healthy planet,” Valerie Rockefeller Wayne, a great-great-granddaughter of Mr Rockefeller and a trustee of the fund, is quoted by the Washington Post as saying.
The climate change summit was held at the UN headquarters in New York, with 125 heads of state and government members expected to attend.
It is the first such gathering since the unsuccessful climate conference in Copenhagen in 2009.
At the scene: Matt McGrath, Environment Correspondent, BBC News
The event held to launch the Rockefellers’ news was more revivalist meeting than press conference. There was whooping, cheering, hollering and stamping of feet.
Rockefeller Brothers Fund director Stephen Heintz said dryly that “everyone noted the irony” that a foundation built on oil wealth would now be leading the charge out of fossil fuel.
Actor Mark Ruffalo, who also signed the pledge, told the conference: “These are not silly people, these are people who know how to deal with money.”