The divestment movement, which has persuaded many companies, institutions and individuals to sell their shares in fossil fuel companies, has had a major success in another business that drives climate change – the palm oil industry.
Although palm oil has many beneficial uses, its production is a driver of rainforest destruction and habitat loss for rare species. Rainforest destruction is the second biggest driver of climate change after burning fossil fuels.
A report released last year by Friends of the Earth US named companies with heavy investments that make billions of dollars in profits by clear-felling forests for palm oil plantations.
This put pressure on fund managers who claimed that their investments were sustainable, and one of them, Dimensional, has divested two of its portfolios of all palm oil plantation companies.
Texas-based with offices in eight countries, and managing investments of $445 bn, Dimensional is in the big league of fund managers. So getting current palm oil production practices labelled unsustainable is a major boost for the divestment movement.