Seattle Funds Asked to Divest from Fossil Fuels

December 24, 2012 ( - The City of Seattle is moving to divest from fossil fuels following a roundtable discussion with environmental activist and founder Bill McKibben.
While none of the city’s $1.4 billion in cash balances for daily operations is currently invested in fossil fuels, Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn is seeking to rid the city’s deferred compensation (DC) plan and pension holdings of fossil fuel investments. The city’s DC plan has $700 million in employee investments, while the pension system has holdings valued at $1.9 billion.

McGinn does not control those funds, but he wrote to the Deferred Compensation Plan Committee “to ask that they offer our employees options to move their investments out of fossil fuel companies, offer fossil fuel free investment choices to them, and begin the process of divestment,” McGinn said on his blog. McGinn also asked the city’s pension system governing board to “refrain from investing in fossil fuel companies in the future, and begin exploring options for moving existing investments from fossil fuel companies.”

Two of the pension system’s top 10 investments are with ExxonMobil and Chevron, according to McGinn. The system currently has $17.6 million invested with those two firms, representing just less than 1% of their $1.9 billion in assets. is calling for schools, churches and governments to immediately freeze any new investment in fossil fuel companies, and divest from direct ownership and any commingled funds that include fossil fuel public equities and corporate bonds within five years.