Green Mountain College Joins Growing Divestment Movement
Green Mountain College today announced that it is divesting its $3.1 million endowment from fossil fuel companies, making the Poultney liberal arts school the fifth college in the nation — and the second in Vermont, after Sterling College — to endorse a campaign playing out on more than 300 campuses across the country.
The goal isn't necessarily to hit companies like Mobil, Exxon and Royal Dutch Shell in the pocketbook; most divestment advocates agree that even the wealthiest universities won't make much of a ding in these corporation's profits by divesting.
“I don’t think financially we can cripple them. They’re so big and so rich,” Vermont resident and environmental activist Bill McKibben told Seven Days in December, as the divestment campaign was gaining steam. Rather, McKibben said divestment represents an “inherently moral call, saying if it’s wrong to wreck the climate, it’s wrong to profit from that wreckage.”
GMC's board of trustees voted on Friday to immediately divest from the top 200 fossil fuel companies targeted in the nationwide divestment campaign headed up by the environmental activism organization founded by McKibben, 350.org. Currently 1 percent of GMC's endowment is tied up in these companies, which collectively own the vast majority of the world's coal, oil and gas reserves.
"We see this as another step in an ongoing effort to connect our investment decisions with our ideals,” said GMC president Paul Fonteyn in a statement released today. "Investing endowment funds on the basis of social, economic and environmental criteria is one of the ways Green Mountain College expresses its values."