The City of Sydney has more than $500 million under management. The new policy will divert these funds away from banks that invest in fossil fuels—giving preference to financial institutions committed to sustainability. Coal, gas and oil are on its list of “environmentally harmful activities” to be avoided.
The move follows a two-year campaign by volunteers of campaigning group 350.org Sydney, which is part of a global movement taking action to halt the climate crisis. Along with extensive research, lobbying and petitioning, for four months group members were present at every council and investment committee meeting in their bright orange Fossil Free shirts.
To date, $6.8 billion has been the subject of council divestment motions and 2.5 million Australians live in divested councils.
Dr Carrie Tsai, campaign coordinator for 350.org Sydney, said Sydney’s divestment commitment was a breakthrough and part of a growing and powerful movement of Australian councils saying no to fossil fuels.
Tsai told The Guardian that Sydney’s Lord Mayor, Clover Moore, had done a lot of work on other sustainability issues. “Divestment is a natural next step in Sydney’s already commendable sustainability policies,” she said.