The Environment and Climate Change Committee has today unanimously endorsed the C40 Cities Divest/Invest Declaration, reaffirming Auckland Council’s policy of not investing in companies involved in the production of fossil fuels and committing to championing investments in the green economy.
Auckland is a signatory to the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group: a network of 97 global cities committed to fighting climate change and creating a healthier, more sustainable future. C40 members represent more than 700 million people worldwide and account for a quarter of global GDP.
The C40 Divest/Invest Declaration is focused on cities leading the way by divesting financial assets from fossil fuel companies and supporting the green economy.
Mayor Phil Goff says while the council already adheres to a Responsible Investment Policy and does not have any fossil fuel investments, the declaration reiterates its commitment to a zero-carbon future and creates further impetus for action on climate change.
“In responding to this declaration, the council is committing to tangible actions, including increasing our financial investments in climate solutions. Last year, for example, the vast majority of the council’s own borrowing was through green bonds, where funding raised is used for environmentally sustainable projects.
“These commitments will add to the $152 million of new spending on climate initiatives in last year’s Recovery Budget, as well as the huge amount of work underway across the Council Group to decarbonise our infrastructure and make it more resilient to the impacts of climate change.”
In addition to increasing investment in climate solutions, the declaration requires the council to advocate for fossil-free and sustainable finance by other investors and all levels of government, and monitor and communicate council progress to C40 on an annual basis.
Councillor Richard Hills, who chairs the Environment and Climate Change Committee, says the declaration underscores the seriousness of the climate crisis.
“The landmark report released this week by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is very clear: climate change is already here, and without rapid and coordinated action globally, it will get significantly worse.
“This declaration reaffirms our commitment to not investing in companies engaged in the extraction of fossil fuels.
“It also follows council’s introduction of tools to finance climate action, such as green bonds, which reflects the other side of the divestment/investment strategy that signatories to this declaration are committing to,” Hills says.
“Since 2018, the Council Group has raised more than $850 million in green bonds to finance and refinance projects such as electric trains and cycling infrastructure.
“That’s good, but the challenge to the council now is to ensure that the climate is at the heart of every single decision we make.”