National Trust to Sell Its Shares in Fossil Fuels Minimizing Its Carbon Footprint

The National Trust plans on selling off its shares in fossil fuel companies, in a step toward helping the environment.
Fabienne Lang
Carew Castle in Wales is looked after by the Trustdiego_torres/Pixabay

The Trust, known for being Europe's largest conservation charity, has announced that it will be selling its shares currently invested in fossil fuel companies. 

Presently, 4 percent of its £1 billion (roughly $1.2 billion) stock market investment is in such companies.

It plans on completing the sale of its shares in fossil fuel companies within three years. However, most shares will be sold as soon as within a year

Why is the National Trust selling its shares?

In an attempt to move more in line with its conservation focus, the Trust, based in the UK, plans on investing in green start-ups and portfolios that benefit the environment. 


"Over the years, we've gradually evolved our investment strategy to reduce our carbon footprint," said Peter Vermeulen, the Trust's chief financial officer. 

National Trust to Sell Its Shares in Fossil Fuels Minimizing Its Carbon Footprint
Great Chatfield Manor House, part of the Trust's conservation plans. Source: GregMantoni/Pixabay

In a statement with the BBC, Vermeulen added, "As a conservation charity [we] believe that after decades' worth of lobbying not enough has been done by the oil and gas companies, and for that reason we're looking to withdraw our investments and invest in companies that are looking to deliver environmental benefits as well as financial returns." 

The Trust goes over its investment portfolio every six months to analyze its carbon footprint impact. Furthermore, they don't believe this shift in investments will impact its financial returns negatively. 

What does the National Trust do?

As Hilary McGrady, the Trust's director-general said: "Returns from our investments, are vital for helping us protect and care for special places across the nation." 

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National Trust to Sell Its Shares in Fossil Fuels Minimizing Its Carbon Footprint
Parts of World Heritage Site Hadrian's Wall is under the Trust's care. Source: 12019/10266/Pixabay

McGrady continued: "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."

The Trust looks after 780 miles of coastline, 613,000 acres of land, and more than 500 historic houses, castles, monuments, gardens, parks and nature reserves across England, Wales and Northern Ireland. 

Striving for a greener and safer planet, the Trust also plans on phasing out single-use plastics from its shops and reduce its use and sale in its cafes by 2022, according to Vermeulen. 

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