It has been a productive year for 350 Aotearoa!
Otago University divests!
On September 13, 2016, Otago University announced that they were withdrawing their investments in coal, gas and oil. This was a hard-won campaign that took a huge amount of work by dedicated students, staff and supporters. Much celebrating was had. Otago University is the second New Zealand university to divest from fossil fuels, after Victoria University of Wellington.
ANZ pulls out of Petroleum Conference sponsorship
We’ve had some much-needed success in stopping ANZ’s sponsorship of this year’s NZ oil conference. ANZ was previously a gold level sponsor of the Petroleum Conference, where New Zealand government and leading companies in the oil industry came together to discuss the dirty future of New Zealand’s energy. Due to pressure from 350 Aotearoa’s protests, ANZ chose not to sponsor this year’s Petroleum Conference!
Break Free Aotearoa
We also took part in a Break Free 2016. Break Free from Fossil Fuels is a global movement to keep coal, oil and gas in the ground. For two weeks in May, more than 30,000 people across the world participated in peaceful actions to demand that fossil fuels stay in the ground.
Here in New Zealand, 500 motivated enthusiasts and local volunteers from 350 Aotearoa around the country were involved in peaceful protests against fossil fuels. Break Free Aotearoa’s campaign targeted ANZ bank, due to ANZ being the largest lender to fossil fuel projects in Australasia. Break free in Aotearoa was launched with a beach party! Then, ANZ banks in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin were blockaded and and/or shutdown by protesters standing up for the environment. A big thank you to everyone involved!
NZ Super Fund campaign
Funding giant, Vanguard International, has recently stated that it will base its ethical investment principles on the New Zealand Superannuation Fund. This means that if NZ Super Fund divests from fossil fuels, there will be a domino effect due to Vanguard also divesting. Multiple KiwiSavers use Vanguard as a fund provider, so if they divest, it will make divestment a lot easier for KiwiSaver schemes (see below).
Sign the petition to tell NZ Super Fund to divest from fossil fuels, and provide the much-needed example for our KiwiSaver funds!
Recent news of the default KiwiSaver funds’ investments in cluster bombs shocked people around the country. In addition, these funds are also invested in fossil fuels, which have similar destructive abilities to weapons – the climate catastrophes they cause decimate entire villages, towns, and ecosystems.
The new KiwiSaver scheme, Simplicity, has the power to pressure funding giant Vanguard International to go Fossil Free.
Sign the petition to tell Simplicity to put pressure on Vanguard, and give us a fossil-free KiwiSaver fund!
It’s Time to Divest campaign
Since Break Free in May, we have continued work on our banks divestment campaign. Recently, we directed our attention towards Westpac in addition to ANZ, due to Westpac’s continuous support for dirty fossil fuels and its funding of projects that are expanding the fossil fuel industry. They have also been deemed the “World’s Most Sustainable Company” by Dow Jones; a classic case of corporate greenwashing. This is despite their $6.33 billion in investments in fossil fuels since 2008. As a result, we are now asking both ANZ and Westpac to divest from fossil fuels by the 25th of November, 2016.
Sign the pledge to move your money from ANZ and Westpac if they don’t divest by 25 November!
We launched our campaign by playing on Westpac’s “It’s Time” ad campaign. We entered a Westpac branch with alarms going off – to signify that it is time for Westpac to “stop hitting the snooze button” and divest from fossil fuels. If ANZ and Westpac choose not to divest by 25 November, individuals and organisations will move their money from ANZ and Westpac to another bank.
Forest and Bird were the first organisation to publicly announce their ultimatum to ANZ in May. Since then, we have received support from other organisations who will participate in the pledge.
A big thank you to everyone who has signed the pledge; we will continue to push forward in the hopes that the banks will feel the pressure and stop funding the destruction of our climate.
Fossil Free Auckland Council campaign
In Auckland, we are pressuring the city council to divest from fossil fuels.
Auckland Council currently invests more than $20 million in oil companies like Exxon and Anadarko; we have put out a press release detailing the council’s investments. They continue to invest in these polluting companies despite commitment to the C40 Initiative, and putting out a Low Carbon Action Plan.
Sign the petition to get Auckland Council to divest!
The local 350 Auckland group is currently working on a research document to present to the council. Very exciting! This comes as news broke that the council is heavily investing not only in fossil fuels but alcohol, tobacco and sugary drinks as well! These investments completely contradict the work that the council was doing to fight obesity and smoking. 350 Aotearoa’s Executive Director Niamh O’Flynn was interviewed by bfm on the subject.
Auckland Council is having a meeting in October to decide on a new investment policy, so watch this space!
We look forward to continuing our work with bank and Auckland Council divestment!
We also have work that our local groups have been involved with university divestment. We currently have campaigns at:
Otago University – Update: We won!
Check out our list of divestment wins as well!