Climate-friendly investment – local divestment and reinvestment

Suburbia from above - Ehningen, Germany

The strategic withdrawal of money from investments that are harmful to the climate (divestment) and its sustainable reinvestment are gaining ground in the public and private realms. The reason is simple: there are many ecological, ethical and financial arguments in favour of removing assets from fossil fuels. This is why cities and local communities, who are also investors, are increasingly dealing with this issue, divesting, und reinvesting sustainably.

As part of the National Climate Initiative (NKI), the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB) funded and promoted the project “Climate-friendly investment – local divestment and reinvestment”. The aim of this project was to further spread divestment and reinvestment with and in urban districts throughout Germany. The three focal areas of this project were exploration of the potential for local divestment; constructive dialogues between trailblazers, experts and other actors (including to remove obstacles to divestment); and support for local divestment and reinvestment: cities were empowered and guided in analysing their financial investments in terms of climate-friendliness and sustainability, and in using alternative reinvestment opportunities that are climate-friendlier – to fulfil their fiduciary responsibility and to better protect the climate.

Led by adelphi, the consortium first determined urban districts’ level of interest in the issue of divestment through a survey in spring 2018, and then initiated an exchange among interested cities. As of autumn 2018, this exchange was intensified through a variety of workshops, conferences and citizen dialogues. Sharing the experiences of pioneering cities in order to motivate and inspire others played an important role here. Furthermore, more than 15 cities that were interested in reinvestment received consultation by the consortium about ways divest und reinvest locally, and more sustainably, while some cities additionally received on-site support from (financial) experts. A handbook for local divestment and reinvestment and a strategy paper for political decision-makers summarized the experiences and lessons learned from the project, making them available to all cities in Germany. These two key project resources for municipalities were downloaded more than 3,000 times within six months after being announced in municipal networks.

Detailed background information on local divestment and reinvestment, as well as details on the project process and opportunities to participate, can be found on our project website.

Publications of this project