This form is for health professionals and supporters of health divestment to sign support.
Unmitigated climate change threatens to undermine our health, environment and global security. Under the UK’s Climate Change Act and the Paris Agreement, the UK is committed to limiting warming to well below 2C and to aim for no more than 1.5C. This requires leaving the vast majority of fossil fuel reserves unburnt, creating the real possibility of fossil fuel assets becoming stranded – with profound implications for the global economy.
In November 2016 the UN Environment Programme stated that the window on 1.5C global warming will close within three years, highlighting the urgency of the need to transition to clean energy. We believe that fossil fuel divestment is potentially one of the most effective means available to health organisations to accelerate the energy transition.
We also agree with the view of the World Medical Association that health organisations have a moral responsibility not to invest in the industry that is driving climate change, and that just as health professionals divested tobacco companies because they compromised our professional values, we should now divest fossil fuels. Moreover, we believe as health professionals we have a responsibility to show leadership on climate action, responsible investment and the management of climate risk through addressing the practices of our own investments.
As doctors, nurses and health professionals reputational risk is also a concern to us. Given that many large investors in the UK and globally have committed to divest, the health sector risks looking like it is taking a back-seat.
We call on trustees of health sector foundations and professional bodies to uphold their fiduciary duty and take the financial risks of climate change into account. We ask that our professional bodies and health sector foundations and charities quantify, disclose and review their investments in fossil fuels, engage in a dialogue with stakeholders, including members, and managers on responsible investment, and commit to phasing out fossil fuel investments over an appropriate time-scale.