Waikato Regional Council votes to divest from fossil fuels
In February 2021, 350 Aotearoa and Go Eco representatives delivered a petition supported by 1000 people to Waikato Regional Council and presented it to the Finances and Services Committee calling for the Council to divest from fossil fuels. The presentation acknowledged Auckland City Council, Dunedin City Council and Christchurch City Council for committing to fossil fuel divestment policies, and cited the success of the global fossil fuel divestment movement. Over 1325 institutions, worth USD $14.56 trillion, have now committed to policies black-listing coal, oil and gas companies.
Waikato Regional Councillors have now voted in favor of a new Responsible Investment Policy that includes a climate change investment policy and a commitment to divest from coal, oil, and gas companies.
The Financial Sector Mandatory Climate-related Risk Disclosure Bill
Up until October 2021, there were no required reporting standards for financial institutions to assess their climate-related risks. In fact, the lack of cohesion has meant that our major banks like ANZ and Westpac claim to be carbon-neutral while loaning billions of dollars to coal, oil, and gas companies each year. Under this new climate-risk reporting framework, businesses will need to provide more information on their portfolios and the climate-related risks.
BlackRock divests [some] coal companies from a part of their investment business, and are working to drive their clients to invest in “sustainable” portfolios. Although it may sound wildly incremental and, well, underwhelming given the climate crisis, this announcement changes things for the climate movement and may have a significant impact on the finance world, especially the fossil fuel industry.
OMV has pulled the plug and stopped its controversial deep-sea drill in the Great South Basin, off the Otago Coast. This is a huge win for the climate and for all of the communities across Aotearoa that have stood up to end deep-sea oil drilling.
In May 2021 the Government announced improvements to default KiwiSaver funds, which means New Zealanders’ savings in default funds will no longer be invested in fossil fuels.
This change will mean that the 381,000 New Zealanders enrolled in default funds will be moving away from funds with investments in the fossil fuel industry, and into funds that have cut their ties with companies involved with coal, oil, and gas production.
Our multi-year campaign calling for Kiwibank to cut its ties with coal, oil, and gas companies – making it the first bank in Aotearoa to commit to never invest in or lend to coal, oil, and gas companies
AIG’s association with the Adani coal mine was a threat to the climate, to indigenous land rights, and it was muddying the All Blacks’ jersey in the middle of the Rugby World Cup.
We came together in solidarity with our friends fighting Adani in Australia, to send a clear message that New Zealanders will not be associated with climate destruction, and any new coal project must be stopped.
The University of Auckland Foundation announced that it would divest from fossil fuel investments based on the Carbon Underground 200 List. They have also adopted a responsible investment policy which will help guide investment decisions under an Environmental Social Governance umbrella.
The announcement from Fonterra to build no new coal boilers indicates a shift towards a zero-carbon economy that is needed to address the climate crisis and to meet New Zealand’s commitment to reducing its emissions.
Simplicity divests from fossil fuels – fulfilling our original campaign ask- This also means that Vanguard is creating a specific fossil free portfolio that Simplicity is launching!
Te Kuha Mine Denied Access to Conservation Land
350 Aotearoa teamed up with Coal Action Network to make it clear that Te Kuha and all new coal projects are not Aotearoa’s future, and to stop this project in its tracks. New Zealanders signed on to our petition to tell our ministers that coal is not our future.
On June 16th 2018, Minister of Conservation, Eugenie Sage, and Minister for Energy and resources, Megan Woods, announced that the application for the part of Te Kuha Mine on conservation land, the 12 hectares that are part of the Mt Rochfort Conservation Park, has been declined.
Jacinda Ardern Bans New Offshore Oil & Gas in Aotearoa
Jacinda Ardern announced the end of the offshore ‘block offer’ process, in which industry is offered rights to explore for oil and gas in our coastal waters. Onshore blocks of Taranaki are still on offer to the fossil fuel industry, and none of the existing permits, onshore or offshore, have been affected.
The University of Otago has announced it will halve greenhouse gas emissions created by its energy use within three years. A University Council decision will enable provider Pioneer Energy to switch from using coal to wood to produce steam for heating and hot water in 29 of the institution’s buildings.
As the first step towards stepping up Auckland’s “climate game”, we urged the city council to divest its funds from coal, oil, and gas. Auckland Council had more than $25 million invested in fossil fuel companies like Exxon and Anadarko; we have put out a press release detailing the council’s investments. The investments in fossil fuels lay in contradiction to the council’s commitment to the C40 Initiative and putting out a Low Carbon Action Plan.
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 sponsored the NZ Petroleum Summit, where oil giants and our government get together to make plans to drill for more oil and gas in NZ.
We launched a petition and an open letter to ANZ. We phoned them up to express your disapproval. We protested. We hosted a ‘carbon bubble’ action where we filled their branch with helium ‘carbon bubble’ balloons or shared it on social media. We started conversations about it. And we won!
ANZ confirmed that they will not be sponsoring the NZ Oil Conference in Auckland in 2016!
Christchurch City Holdings (ie the Christchurch City Council) Announced it Would Exclude Fossil Fuels From its Investments
Victoria University of Wellington Announces it Will Divest From Fossil Fuels
The University based its decision on international scientific research which “strongly suggests that unless the world reduces its reliance on fossil fuels, climate change and ocean acidification will have severe impacts on life on land and in our oceans,” said Vice-Chancellor Professor Grant Guilford.
Five Anglican Church Dioceses Lead the Way in Fossil Fuel Divestment
This announcement comes at an important time, following the release of the latest Intergovernmental Panel on climate change report on Friday, calling for urgent and stringent action to reduce greenhouse gases.
The global fossil fuel divestment campaign was started by 350.org last year in the US, and has so far seen 12 religious institutions, 17 cities and 6 universities making the commitment to divest from fossil fuels.