DISCUSSION Response to: “Why Divestment Fails”

by Luke Robinson _______14th May 2014

by Stephen Davis, Associate Director and Senior Fellow, Harvard Law School Programs on Corporate Governance and Institutional Investors

Stanford University’s decision to divest from fossil fuels is bolstered, not undermined, by the experience of apartheid South Africa, contrary to Ivo Welch’s view. Here’s why.

For those pressing corporate pullouts from South Africa, economic damage was not the objective. Ending apartheid was. The sanctions price tag amounted to a slight 0.5% of South Africa’s GNP. But the impact on political attitudes was striking, according to a comprehensive 1989 opinion survey and focus groups I co-directed for the Investor Responsibility Research Center. The more whites felt vulnerable to being labeled a pariah, the more they were resigned to yield on apartheid. So Welch, in forecasting a trivial impact from Stanford’s divestment, is drawing conclusions from the wrong empirical corner. Stanford’s move may well cause no financial earthquake. But by branding fossil fuel a pariah, it could help change public attitudes on energy policy and behavior.

This letter is written as a response to:

Ivo Welch’s ‘Why Divestment Fails’

Published: May 9, 2014 The New York Times – Opinion Pages


accessed 14/05/2014

To improve public procurement – use the Trust Test

Public procurement is too often solely made on price, and not enough on true value and to account for areas...

Serving All? How can employers support financial inclusion?

In January 2020, Tomorrow's Company co-hosted a major Financial Inclusion Summit, to launch our report into the role of employers...

Five ways businesses can think differently about mental health

Mental health in the workplace has gone from a fringe idea to being mainstream and top of the agenda in…

How can we #BalanceforBetter? By celebrating being good enough

Too often gender balance only celebrates women who have broken the glass ceiling. We need to do better for everyone...

Our favourite stories this week January 1-6 2019

Dear Readers, Here are a few articles published in the last few days that address issues – such as mental…

Featured Voice: Helen Buhaenko

We need a social contract that is fair, so that everyone has the chance to progress.

csuite podcast #76 – How connected brands drive growth

Joining Russell Goldsmith at the London offices of GSK to discuss this issue, were Kerry O'Callaghan, VP for Global Brand...

csuite podcast #75 – Social Mobility Live, 2018

Tomorrow’s Company is proud to announce a partnership with the c suite podcast, a monthly show covering topics such as Marketing…