Sovereign Wealth Fund Divestment as an Environmental Protection Strategy

Negotiating Wealth and Accountability - a sculpture in China's affluent city of Hangzhou - Photograph by Saleem H. Ali

In this guest post, one of my doctoral students Asmaa Khadim, who is a Canadian lawyer, presents perspectives on the growing trend for large national funds to divest from particular industries that they consider socially or environmentally problematic. Is this making any positive change? This article explores how in a few cases some signs of influence from such divestment strategies on the performance of companies.

Guest article by Asmaa Khadim

Negotiating Wealth and Accountability – a sculpture in China’s affluent city of Hangzhou – Photograph by Saleem H. Ali

Divestment (also known as disinvestment) generally entails the use of economic means to pressure an entity, such as a corporation or government, towards a change in its policies or practices. It usually involves the reduction of an asset to achieve an ethical objective. Organized economic boycotts have been utilized in a variety of situations where the practices of the impugned entity have been deemed to violate the norms of society, such as in the case of the tobacco industry, arms manufacturers and governments that support policies of apartheid. More recently, divestment strategies have made their way into the environmental protection sphere.

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