Rockefeller’s heirs wash their hands of oil

Global Business

It’s one of the most iconic names in corporate history: the Rockefeller family, which made its fortune in the first American oil boom.

But Rockefeller’s charitable arm wants nothing more to do with black gold. It’s the latest organization to join a growing movement that’s voting with its money against fossil fuels.

CCTV America’s Owen Fairclough reports.

John D. Rockefeller’s investment in oil made him one of the world’s richest men. New York’s Rockefeller Plaza is a testament to his fortune.

Rockefeller, whose Standard Oil Co. became ExxonMobil, also invested millions in philanthropic causes from education to religion.

But the charity that bears his name, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, is selling off its holdings in ExxonMobil after funding a study slamming the firm’s commitment to climate change.

It accuses the energy giant of morally reprehensible behavior: deceiving the public about the impact of global warming, while taking steps to protect its own assets from a changing political environment.

Environmental campaigners said it’s a hugely symbolic move.

ExxonMobil has hit back, claiming it’s being smeared by campaigners who want to demonize fossil fuels. It points to billions the corporation has spent on alternative energy.

This revolt by philanthropists who bear the name of ExxonMobil’s founder doesn’t appear to have damaged the company. Where many firms have suffered huge losses in their share price this year, ExxonMobil’s stock is up 10 percent, an indicator that a global divestment movement is gathering momentum. Collectively, it’s drained more than $2.5 trillion from companies that trade in fossil fuels.

Paul Bledsoe on divestment from fossil fuels

For more on this and the growing investment trend in clean energy, CCTV America’s Rachelle Akuffo spoke to Paul Bledsoe, the president of Bledsoe & Associates.