Rockefeller Brothers Fund, New York, has begun divesting its fossil-fuel holdings, said a statement Monday from the foundation.
The fund, which had $860 million as of July 31, plans to divest fossil-fuel investments in a two-step process, the statement said. The fund, which originated from contributions from a family whose members pioneered development of the petroleum industry, plans first to focus “on limiting its exposure to coal and tar sands — “two of the most intensive sources of carbon emissions” — as quickly as possible, committing to a goal to reduce these investments to less than 1% of its fund by the end of 2014, the statement said.
In the second step, the “fund is analyzing in detail its remaining fossil-fuel exposure and will develop a plan for further divestment as quickly as is prudent over the next few years.”
The value of assets the fund has in the two areas was unavailable.
“We hope that the framework the RBF has adopted to guide our divestment and investment strategies will be of interest to other foundations and institutional investors as we also expect to learn from the experience of others,” the statement said.
The fund set a 10% allocation in 2010 to sustainable development investments, including investing in “clean-energy technologies and other business strategies that advance energy efficiency, decrease dependence on fossil fuels, and mitigate the effects of climate change,” the statement said. How much of that allocation the foundation has funded was not available.
The fund “will adhere to the long-standing mandate of our board of trustees that our assets be invested with the goal of achieving financial returns that will enable the foundation to meet its annual philanthropic obligations, while maintaining the purchasing power of the endowment,” the statement said. In “uncertain and volatile markets, these financial goals are not easy to achieve,” the statement said.
As of July 31, the fund had 41% in global equities, 19% private equity, 14% absolute return, 13% real assets, 12% global fixed income, and 1% cash, according to a fund report.
Stephen Heintz, fund president, was unavailable for comment.