A California water district unanimously voted earlier this week to divest in fossil fuel companies and ban future investments in any of the biggest 200 coal, oil and gas companies including Alcoa, BP, Exxon and Royal Dutch Shell.
The San Jose-based Santa Clara Valley Water District provides drinking water and flood protection to Santa Clara County’s 1.8 million residents.
According to the San Jose Mercury News, the agency has only one fossil fuel investment: a $3 million medium-term note from Chevron in its $453 million capital reserves fund. District officials say they’ll sell the note when it reaches maturity in June 2016, or earlier if it can be sold as a profit.
The newspaper says the water district is the first Silicon Valley governmental agency to drop its investments in fossil fuel companies, joining other California cities including Berkeley, San Francisco and Richmond, along with Seattle, Wash., and Portland, Ore.
Colleges and universities across the US are leading the movement with students at 308 colleges and universities demanding their schools divest endowment holdings from fossil fuel companies, according to 350.org, the organization behind student-led campaigns.
However, college divestments aren’t hurting large electric, oil, and gas companies, because college and university endowments represent less than 1 percent of total global invested assets — about $1 trillion of $150 trillion total invested assets. The schools choosing to divest have not been impacted financially, either, Bloomberg reports.
Last month, Storebrand and Rabobank said they will divest from fossil fuel companies. Norwegian pension fund and insurer Storebrand says it has excluded an additional 19 coal and oil sands companies from its investment portfolio and Holland-based Rabobank told Dutch newspaper Trouw it will no longer lend money to companies involved in shale gas extraction, or make loans to farmers who rent their land to shale gas extraction companies.