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Press Release

Ireland Strategic Investment Fund’s sale of interests in global fossil fuel companies leads the way in green thinking – Donohoe and D’Arcy

Published: 4 January 2019
From: Department of Finance

Friday, 4th January 2019

Ireland among first in the world to divest from global fossil fuel companies

  • Completes divestment worth €68m from 38 companies involved in oil, gas and other fossil fuels
  • Divestment follows the signing into law of the Fossil Fuel Divestment Act 2018
  • Fund develops list of 148 fossil fuel companies in which it will not invest

Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform, Paschal Donohoe TD, and Minister of State at the Department of Finance, Michael D’Arcy TD, have today (Friday) welcomed the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund (ISIF) announcement of its divestment from 38 global fossil fuel companies. The total value of the divestment is €68m.

The divestment follows the enactment of the Fossil Fuel Divestment Act 2018 which was signed into law by the President of Ireland just last month.

The passage of the Fossil Fuel Divestment Act through the Oireachtas (Irish parliament) was actively supported by both Ministers Donohoe and D’Arcy.

The Act provides for the divestment of ISIF from fossil fuel undertakings (effectively, companies that derive more than 20pc of their revenues from the exploration, extraction and/or refinement of fossil fuels) within a “practicable’’ timeframe.

Today’s announcement means that ISIF has completely divested from all fossil fuel investments within the meaning of the Act.

Speaking following the announcement, Minister Donohoe said:

“The passing of this legislation marks Ireland out as one of the first countries in the world to withdraw public money from investment in fossil fuels. It positions the ISIF as one of a handful of sovereign wealth funds globally to implement a fossil fuel divestment strategy.”

Minister D’Arcy said:

“This is an important step on Ireland’s journey to making a successful transition to a low-carbon economy and signals the importance we attach to taking action on climate change. I commend all involved in bringing this initiative to fruition and for showing leadership on such an important issue.”

Eugene O’Callaghan, ISIF Director, said:

“Exiting our fossil fuel investments builds on ISIF’s existing investment exclusionary strategy in respect of coal production and processing, tobacco manufacturing, and cluster munitions and anti-personnel mines.
“We were pleased to play a constructive role in assisting the Oireachtas during the legislative process and we have moved quickly to divest from fossil fuels following the enactment of the legislation.
“ISIF is a strong supporter of investments that will help Ireland’s transition to a low-carbon economy and we will continue to support renewable energy investments and low-carbon initiatives that are consistent with our mandate.”

In anticipation of the Fossil Fuel Divestment Act and in line with ISIF’s existing Sustainability and Responsible Investment Strategy, ISIF has developed an initial list of 148 fossil fuel companies in which ISIF will not invest, which has today been published on ISIF’s website. This list will be actively monitored and reviewed. ISIF’s current portfolio included investments in 38 companies on this list and these have now been divested.

ISIF has also begun the process of measuring the carbon footprint of its investment portfolio as part of a wider approach to identify, manage and mitigate climate risk across its portfolio. ISIF’s global equity and corporate bond portfolio outperform the global benchmarks for CO2 emissions, and the carbon emissions associated with the ISIF’s investment portfolio are expected to decline substantially further following today’s announcement.

As part of his recent strategy review, Minister Donohoe has asked ISIF to focus its investments in Ireland on priority themes, one of which is investments or projects to address climate change.

Separately, as part of its transition from a largely global portfolio into an Irish portfolio, ISIF is investing in Ireland to support the achievement of Ireland’s national carbon transition objectives and the implementation of the State’s climate change obligations. ISIF’s current Irish investments include a range of windfarms, solar power and other renewable energy projects.

Ends