The trustees of the Ray C. Anderson Foundation (the Foundation) have announced that the Foundation’s investment portfolio is now fossil fuel free and divested of investments in oil, coal and gas companies. The Ray C. Anderson Foundation is a private family foundation that honors and shares the values that Ray C. Anderson (1934-2011), Founder and Chairman of Interface Inc., set forth when he put his company on a path to sustainability in 1994. The Foundation’s assets total approximately $50 million.
“Fossil fuel divestment is both ethically and fiscally responsible,” said John A. Lanier, executive director of the Ray C. Anderson Foundation and one of Ray’s five grandchildren. “Investment has consequences, and we intend for our assets to grow by fueling renewable energy and other clean technologies that will combat climate change.”
For 17 years preceding his passing, Anderson challenged his company and others in industry to recognize the fact that sustainability and environmentalism did not have to be exclusive of one another. He proved this fact by transforming Interface into a $1 billion revenue leader in industrial ecology, later earning him recognition as “the greenest CEO in America.” In his 2009 book, Confessions of a Radical Industrialist, Anderson said:
“The age of fossil fuels will not end because there’s no more oil, coal or gas to dig up and burn. It will end because the finite supply cannot meet the exploding demand for them at a price--a climate price, a financial price, and a security price--we are willing (or even able) to bear. It will end because better, smarter and more profitable alternatives become available. It will end because enough of us will realize that paying the price for a systemic shift away from fossil fuels is a whole lot cheaper than footing the bill for the status quo.”
The Foundation joins a growing community of investors who are moving away from fossil fuels and towards clean energy investment. A report from Arabella Advisors issued in December 2016 entitled “Measuring the Growth of the Global Fossil Fuel Divestment and Clean Energy Investment Movement” showed that the amount of money represented by people and institutions that have vowed to divest from fossil fuels reached $5 trillion, having doubled between September 2015 and December 2016.