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German city bans fossil fuel investments

06 November 2015

Image for German city bans fossil fuel investments

The City of Munster has become the first German city to ban investments in coal, oil and gas companies in response to climate change.

Münster's new ethical investment policy requires its two municipal pension funds worth EUR 22 million to invest exclusively in ethically and environmentally sound companies.

Fossil fuel corporations such as RWE, Total, Shell and BASF will be excluded.

Campaign group Fossil Free Münster has been pressuring the city council since October 2013 to divest from fossil fuels.

Fossil Free Münster worked closely with the city to formulate a new investment policy, which now defines a comprehensive set of ethical investment criteria.

Rubinea Korte of Fossil Free Münster said: "Our persistence and good collaboration with decision makers finally paid off."

Besides fossil fuels, sectors such as nuclear energy, arms and child labour are also blacklisted.

Tine Langkamp coordinator of the divestment campaign in Germany for global environmental campaigners 350.org, said: "Fossil Free Münster was the first group in Germany to put fossil fuel divestment on the political agenda.

"Now they've secured the first big win for the divestment movement in German - Münster is a real pioneer and we'll continue to push to make many more follow."

Münster joins a growing list of institutions that commit to divest from fossil fuels for ethical and financial reasons.

In the lead-up to the UN climate negotiations in Paris, it seems the movement away from investment in fossil fuels in gathering pace.

In the past two weeks, the Norwegian capital Oslo, the City of Melbourne in Australia, and Uppsala in Sweden are among those that have pledged to ban investments in coal, oil and gas.

Münster councillor Otto Reiners said: "To minimise financial risks for the City of Münster and reach our municipal climate targets, we need to pull out of fossil fuel companies as quickly as possible."

First published 05.11.2015

Lindsay.sharman@wilmingtonplc.com