National Trust pledges to divest from fossil fuel companies

It also intends to establish a long term goal to continue reducing the carbon footprint of its investment portfolio

The National Trust has announced plans to divest from fossil fuel companies.

It intends to ditch the majority of its fossil fuel investments, which accounts for around 4% of its current portfolio, over the next 12 months and the rest within the next three years.

The Trust is Europe’s largest conservation charity and looks after 780 miles of coastline, 248,000 hectares of land and more than 500 historic houses, castles, monuments, gardens, parks and nature reserves.

It previously made a commitment to ensure no investments were made directly in companies that derived more than 10% of their turnover form the extraction of thermal coal or oil from oil sands.

Its latest measures also include establishing a long term goal to continue reducing the carbon footprint of its investment portfolio, increasing engagement with companies it has invested in to encourage them to improve their environmental performance and actively seek opportunities to support green start-up businesses.

The Trust generates its own green heat and electricity through heat pumps, hydro power schemes and solar panels and is looking to explore farming and land management methods that reduce flooding and help clean water supplies while restoring wildlife.

It also has a plan to phase out single-use plastics from its shops and “substantially reduce” it in its cafes by 2022.

Hilary McGrady, Director-General of the National Trust said: “Returns from our investments are vital for helping us protect and care for special places across the nation. They enable us to look after the natural environment and keep our membership fees affordable to the millions of people who are part of our organisation.

“The impacts of climate change pose the biggest long term threat to the land and properties we care for and tackling this is a huge challenge for the whole nation.

“We know our members and supporters are eager to see us do everything we can to protect and nurture the natural environment for future generations. This change is part of our ongoing commitment.”

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