Elsewhere online
March 20, 2015

Gates Fund Held $1.4 Billion in Fossil-Fuel Stock in 2013

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation had at least $1.4 billion invested in large oil, gas, and coal companies in 2013, The Guardian writes, citing an analysis of the charity's most recent available tax return. The $43 billion fund had stakes in 35 of the 200 firms with the biggest fossil-fuel reserves, according to the newspaper, which launched a petition drive Monday calling on the foundation to divest from the industry.

Last year the foundation sold its shares in Exxon Mobil, which represented more than half of the organization's 2013 fossil-fuel holdings. The charity declined to comment on the divestment issue, and its money manager, the Gates Foundation Asset Trust, never publicly discusses investment decisions.

In their annual letter in January, the Gateses characterized climate change as a major global threat and said that "the world needs to move much more aggressively — right now — to develop energy sources that are cheaper, can deliver on demand, and emit zero carbon dioxide." The charity's investment policy states that it considers "the values that drive the foundation's work" in deciding where to put its money.