The National Trust, Europe’s largest conservation charity, has announced its plans to divest its complete portfolio from fossil fuels in a bid to help fight climate change. The organisation confirmed it will begin to implement new measures to ensure that any future investments match its goals as a conservation charity.
Trust waves goodbye to Fossil Fuels
The National Trust cares for 780 miles of coastline; 248,000 hectares of land and more than 500 historic houses, castles and parks in the UK. The organisation said it expects to withdraw the majority of its fossil fuels within the next 12 months. What’s more, it aims to be rid of them completely within the next few years.
Creating urgency amongst the organisation
Director General of the organisation, Hilary McGrady, said that returns on the trust’s investments were essential to help it “protect and care for special places across the region”.
However, she went on to say: “The impacts of climate change pose the biggest long-term threat to the land and properties we care for and tackling this is a huge challenge for the whole nation. We know our members and supporters are eager to see us do everything we can to protect and nurture the natural environment for future generations.”
A drastic step in the right direction
This marks a huge step for the charity. Beforehand, the National Trust wouldn’t invest in companies which derived more than 10 per cent of their turnover from fossil fuels. At the moment, fossil fuels make up only 4 per cent of the charity’s £1 billion portfolios.
Under the new measures, the National Trust will establish a long-term goal to keep reducing the carbon footprint of its portfolio. They will also engage more with companies invested in fossil fuels with the goal of encouraging them to improve their environmental performance.
The trust also plans to “actively seek out” opportunities to support green start-up businesses.
Reasons for the change
Chief financial officer, Peter Vermeulen, said the trust chose to make this move due to “insufficient progress” of investing in green alternatives by fossil fuel companies.
“We would not expect this divestment to have a negative effect on financial returns and we know that our members and supporters are eager for us to play our part in tackling climate change through everything we do,” Vermeulen added.
“Now we will seek to invest in green start-up businesses and other suitable portfolios that deliver benefits for the environment, nature and people.”
National Trust: creating a history of sustainability
Over the last four years, the National Trust has pursued a number of green initiatives. This includes creating its own green heat and power, as well as exploring sustainable farming and land management methods.
Currently, the organisation intends to phase out all single-use plastics from its shops. It also aims to substantially reduce it in cafes by 2022.
Are we nearing the end of Fossil Fuels?
With so many organisations and individuals turning their backs on fossil fuels, we might be nearing an end. Luckily, there are plenty of opportunities to gain new qualifications that will allow you to keep pursuing a career you love. With a range of courses available with ECTA, you can relax knowing you can keep your business and career up to date. To learn more about the courses we offer, get in touch.