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D for DIVEST and REINVEST: Putting energy money where it should be

Investment practices should deliver greater public benefits and ensure we reach the global climate objectives. By funding local energy transition projects rather than fossil fuel infrastructure, investments can strengthen local resilience and wealth creation. The financial decisions of public authorities, civil society and the financial sector can make the difference.

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Long before the “divest” movement came in the limelight, local authorities were busy engineering new models for local business growth and economic strategies to prevent capital outflows and reinject money within the local economy. Some cities went as far as to create their own local currencies while others launched revolving funds or green loan schemes to foster investment in sustainable energy projects.
The divest movement relies on a two-step approach :

  • withdrawing investments from all fissile and fossil assets
  • reinvesting the capital locally to create virtuous economic loops
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Contrary to what is observed with external developers, anchoring energy projects locally has numerous advantages : loans contracted with local banks, local procurement of goods and services and more investment options provided to local players, cooperatives and municipal authorities, who then reinject profits into the local economy.
Energy Cities’ members have their own bold divest-reinvest agenda, taking wide-ranging initiatives such as :

  • Reforming their investment portfolios, fiscal levies and spending policies
  • Setting up financial structures dedicated to the energy transition
  • Channelling spending towards the local economy by means of a dedicated currency
  • Withdrawing all their investments from fossil fuel assets as part of climate neutral, 100% renewable or fossil fuel free strategies
  • Collecting public savings to invest them in sustainable community-led projects
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Energy divest-reinvestment across cities

Unfortunately, unfavourable national and European policies still stand in the way of cities’ progressive strategies. State aid rules and Eurostat criteria for public debt, to name just a few, still hamper crucial local investments while the EU itself continues to support carbon-intensive industries and large-scale energy infrastructure projects.

Energy divest-reinvestment and EU legislation

©photo : fotolia

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