Divest-Invest Movement: The Stuttgart model and the Global Divest week

By on 11 May 2017

Nowadays, the movement of fossil fuel energy followed by the reinvestment in the local production represents a major interest of the energy transition community. Indeed, local authorities are more and more interested in engaging in the Divest-Invest movement. They are taking on their share of responsibility by implementing strong strategies, as did the city of Stuttgart in Germany. Moreover, a wide mobilization across the world will be undertaken involving civil society with the Global Divest Week which will be held in the second week of May 2017.

Stuttgart, a middle-sized city and the regional capital of the Baden- Wurttemberg region, has stepped into the field of divestment and is now a role model thanks to its ambitious strategy.
Stuttgart’s divest strategy is microscopically studied by all Germany, as it is a successful and yet unpredictable case for the Divest-Invest movement. As a matter of fact, the city is hosting many big companies that are working with fossil fuels, such as Porsche, Bosch or IBM, and is one of the most in-growth nucleuses of German economy.

In the meantime, the city is governed by the Green party, which may be seen as contradictory, as the industry sector remains very powerful. The divest strategy from fossil fuels started from scratch, but when the Greens came along, they created a common consensus among all politicians. The strategy is two-sided, as the divestment is followed by a reinvestment in the local production, giving the local artisans more opportunities and at the same time gaining the support of the right conservative wing (CDU).
In July 2016, the city officially announced that it is giving up its shares in fossil fuel energy and will be reorienting towards environmental and social-friendly investments. The strategy, inspired by the divestment criteria of the Norwegian sovereign wealth fund , was put into place very quickly, and started to leave behind in its investment plans big companies which are using fossil fuels, child labor force and GMOs.

Stuttgart is only one example of the path to undertake in order to divest from fossil fuels. The Divest-Invest movement is inspiring more energy transition stakeholders and becomes even more visible with the Global Divest week, which will be held from 5-13 May 2017. This event is fighting the fossil fuel investment which is incompatible with environmental policies that aim at tackling climate change. The campaign started in the United States, but then had such a powerful impact that it spread worldwide. It encourages storytelling of climate change victims, organizes conferences in order to raise awareness, or public protests. The aim of the movement is to influence and change the politics, and bring more organizations and people on board the Divest-Invest movement.

© photo: Michel Laborda, fossil free

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