Video Friday: Considerations of a Fossil Fuel Divestment Strategy

May 13th, 7:00 P.M. at First Church in Boston — Unitarian Universalist

Bill McKibben of has called for the divestment of fossil fuel stocks as a key strategy in the fight against climate change. Thoughtful professionals within the socially responsible investment and liberal religious communities have taken reasoned and moral positions both for and against this strategy. This is a dilemma for people of conscience who are struggling with questions and decisions about what to do in their institutional and personal portfolios. Since there are strong arguments both for and against divestment, how are we to know what is our “right” decision?What exactly do we mean by “fossil fuel divestment”?

  • Which companies and why? What time horizon?
  • Whose behaviors are we hoping to influence and how? What levers are we trying to pull — financial, moral, public opinion?

What are the real costs — both opportunity and financial — of divesting or not divesting?

  • How do we keep faith with our fiduciary responsibilities to our institutions and their future?
  • How does this impact shareholder activism efforts?
  • What are the alternative investment opportunities and their comparative risk/reward profiles?


  • Tim Brennan, Treasurer and Chief Financial Officer of the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations
  • Chuck Collins, Senior Scholar at the Institute for Policy Studies
  • Stephanie Leighton, Senior Portfolio Manager and Research Analyst, Trillium Asset Management LLC
  • Bob Massie, President and CEO of the New Economics Institute
  • Lauren Ressler, National Organizer, Responsible Endowments Coalition
  • Jim Sherblom, Senior Minister, First Parish, Unitarian Universalist, Brookline, MA
  • Tim Smith, Senior VP, Director of ESG Shareowner Engagement, Walden Asset Management, Boston Trust

Planning Committee:
Barbara Simonetti (Convener) Director, National Coalition for Dialogue and Deliberation;  Greg Buckland,  J.P. Forum; Lucia Santini Field, Trustee, UUSC, Managing Director, Boston Trust & Investment Management Company and Walden Asset Management;  Rob Guillemin,  First Parish in Brookline UU;  Clint Richmond, Co-Chair, Social Action Committee, First Parish UU Brookline ; Charles Sandmel, Trustee and Treasurer, UUSC, SRI Investment Advisor, First Affirmative Financial Network,  Michael Sandmel, Campus Network Organizer, New Economics Institute, Sibyl Senters, Social Action Committee,First Parish in Cambridge UU. 

The J.P. Forum; Boston Area Sustainable Investment Consortium; Social Action Committee, First Parish in Brookline UU; Social Justice Committee, First Church in Boston UU; Environmental Justice Task Force, First Parish in Cambridge UU; Green Sanctuary Committee, First Parish in Arlington UU; UU Ministry for Earth

For more information, contact Barbara Simonetti at


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