The Time Is Now to Divest from Fossil Fuel Companies – Join SOCAN in the Effort
Because of policies in the state treasury, our money is being used to support fossil fuel extraction and distribution. We think it’s time to end this investment strategy.
According to the Oregon State Treasury statement, its balance as of the end of 2022 was $134 billion. This includes monies paid into the Public Employees Retirement System and held in trust by Treasury for state agencies and entities. Overseeing the investment and allocation of State of Oregon trust funds is the Oregon Investment Council, composed of four members appointed by the governor with the Treasurer and Director of the Public Employees Retirement System serving as a function of their offices.
Those managing state funds have a fiduciary responsibility to manage them in a manner that best serves those to whom the money belongs. This means those paying into PERS and the citizens of the state. Since, by their electoral decisions, Oregonians have indicated a desire to address the global climate crisis, this means also that the investment of state (our) funds should not serve to promote the climate crisis by supporting fossil fuel corporations.
During the last two Oregon Legislative Sessions Divest Oregon has sought to require the Treasury to be more transparent in its investment practices and targets, and to commit to divesting from fossil fuels. Despite recognition that investing in fossil fuel corporations is potentially a risky financial tactic, Treasury has resisted this effort and has successfully defeated legislation that would have moved the state forward in the direction of divestment and greater transparency.
The best response so far from the Treasury exhibits no urgency and simply supports the transition of funds to a net-zero carbon emission portfolio by no later than 2050, a date by which we know humanity needs to have achieved net zero emissions of greenhouse gases already.
The Southern Oregon Climate Action Now monthly general meeting on Tuesday June 27th will focus on the efforts of Divest Oregon to bring the Treasury more in line with the wishes of the majority of Oregon citizens. The program will feature Rory Cowal from Divest Oregon who will discuss the reasons for divestment, the efforts of Divest Oregon to achieve it, what the next steps will be subsequent to the failure of HB2601 during the 2023 session, and what we can do individually to invest conscientiously.
The program run from 6:00 – 7:00 via ZOOM. There is no charge for joining the ZOOM meeting, but participants must register at the link on the SOCAN calendar event: https://socan.eco/event/divest-together/