Fossil fuel divestment – is this the strategy for you ?

Fossil fuel divestment – is this the strategy for you ?

Although there are likely a few opportunities in fossil-fuel investment strategies out there, Ethiquette has recently had conversations with fund offerings with two distinct approaches :

  1. fossil fuel free portfolio ;
  2. exclusion of the least progressive companies, and engagement towards an energy transition with the others.

How to identify publicly traded fossil fuel companies ?

The Carbon Underground 200 is an annually updated listing of the top 100 public coal companies globally and the top 100 public oil and gas companies globally, ranked by the potential carbon emissions content of their reported reserves. The list is produced and maintained by Fossil Free Indexes, LLC.

For a spreadsheet of the top 200 fossil fuel companies by size of reserves click here.

For investors with a minimum of $100,000 to invest, the Blue Heron Advisory Group offers a fossil-fuel free separately managed account. The full screening process for their portfolios can be found here:

NEI’s Ethical funds and the Desjardins Environment and Societerra funds take a different approach to the complex challenge of transitioning away from fossil fuel-based systems. This approach tends to exclude coal companies (which are the least progressive), and then engage companies to facilitate a transition to a low-carbon economy. For more complete information on this strategy see this report :

So, concretely, what would engagement with these companies look like ?

Read the details of the Ethical Funds engagement with Suncor here:


Breaking Up With Fossil Fuels is Hard to Do 
This comical clip helps underline that while we may want to divest from fossil fuels in our portfolios, we’re not able to remove them from the rest of our lives quite so quickly. Complete divestment may be the right choice for you, but a plurality of approaches are important to facilitate the transition to a low-carbon economy. See responsible investment strategies for more info.


  1. Earthday announcement that IA Clarington Inhance Global Equity SRI Class fund is now fossil-fuel free!

    “Vancity Investment Management (VCIM) has fully divested from oil and gas companies within the IA Clarington Inhance Global Equity SRI Class. This fund has no coal, oil or gas holdings and holds 7.6% in renewable energy and clean technology companies.

    In the IA Clarington Inhance Canadian Equity SRI Class, VCIM has divested from Suncor and Canadian Natural Resources, two major oil sands producers. Both companies are among Canada’s largest greenhouse gas emitters and are planning to significantly expand oil sands mining projects and operations. Oil sands mining and upgrading are considered to be among the world’s most carbon-intensive petroleum sources. Suncor has been receptive to shareholder engagement. However, the overall results, contrasted with production plans, are not sufficient, in our opinion, to warrant continued investment.“

    Read the full story:

  2. Brenda Plant Says: September 21, 2015 at 7:01 am

    September 21, 2015 — The US based, Lemelson Foundation, announced today that it will sign on in support of DivestInvest Philanthropy, a growing coalition of more than 100 foundations that have made public commitments to divest from fossil fuels and invest in clean energy and climate solutions. The Lemelson Foundation is the world’s leading funder of invention in service of improving lives and promoting social and economic progress.

    Read more:
    Read more here:

  3. Hi!

    I recently watch a video saying that it was hard to find investments in renewables that give a good return compared to investments in fossil fuel.

    I was wondering if you had any idea if that is true and if you know about a study that would confirm that investments in renewables can have better returns and are also available for Canadian investors.

    Thank you!

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