CFT Divest!

WHO WE ARE

We are teachers and California Federation of Teachers members who see the need to take immediate and decisive action around climate chaos. We are committed to moving the CalSTRS Board to divest our pension funds from fossil fuels, and to also promote investment in a just transition to a sustainable future. These investments are not only ethically wrong, they are damaging to the retirement funds of thousands of hardworking teachers. We stand in solidarity with students and allies who also advocate for CalSTRS to divest from fossil fuels. Join us!

Why We Formed

A group of CFT members started CFT Divest! after we realized that:

  1. CFT members realize that we are at a critical juncture of in a global Climate Crisis, and understand that there is an urgent need to take action on it.

  2. Most CFT members are not aware that their pension fund, CalSTRS, is using their hard earned contributions to underwrite the fossil fuel industry.

  3. Fear of fossil fuel divestment and what it could possibly do to the stability of our pensions was real, deep, and preventing movement forward on divestment.

  4. There was a lack of critical examination of CalSTRS claims that "divestment was not responsible", despite the mountain of growing evidence showing divestment to be an effective, prudent action that pension funds all over the world are committing to without harm to portfolio returns.

OUR GOALS

  1. To educate CFT members on the damaging fiscal and environmental impacts of CalSTRS continued investment in fossil fuels

  2. To organize members to call for swift action for CalSTRS divestment of their pension fund.

  3. To promote climate justice leadership throughout CFT, both within local chapters and institutions

  4. To engage CalSTRS board members toward decisive divestment action

CalSTRS' CLAIMS...and WHY THEY'RE MISLEADING

1. "Divestment is not a responsible investment."

    • In reality, the reverse of this statement is true. Two recent and comprehensive studies have concluded that companies and funds that have divested from fossil fuels have suffered no deleterious financial effects whatsoever ā€“ and have, in many cases, seen gains. Click HERE for more info.

2. "When CalSTRS divested from tobacco ten years ago the CalSTRS fund lost $5 billion dollars and tobacco stocks increased."

    • This statement comes from a CalSTRS report that compares our entire portfolio against the performance of other portfolios -- an inaccurate method of calculating whether or not prior divestments have gained or lost money. Click HERE for more info.


3. "Engaging companies to change them as a large investor is a better way to get change than divesting, pulling out money, and walking away."

  • Efforts over the decades to "engage" with fossil-fuel companies have totally failed. In fact, of the top 53 oil and gas companies, none are on track to align their emissions with the goals set forth by the Paris Climate Accord. Click HERE for more info.


4. "If CalSTRS divests from fossil fuels, other investors will just come in and buy up the stock."

  • It is a fallacy that divestment does not depress the economic value of stocks, that it does not dissuade other investors from purchasing it, or that it is not a historically powerful tool to affect political change. Click HERE for more info.

5. "Fossil fuel stocks are essential to a healthy portfolio."

    • The facts are that fossil fuel stocks are rapidly declining in value and have disastrous long-term prospects ā€“ and that re-investing in clean energy stocks is the smart move. Click HERE for more info.