On Tuesday, Leonardo DiCaprio appeared at a Divest/Invest press conference to announce that he is finished with fossil fuels. The 40-year-old actor pledged to divest not only his personal wealth from oil, coal and natural gas investments, but also all assets managed by his Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation.
“Now is the time to divest and invest to let our world leaders know that we, as individuals and institutions, are taking action to address climate change, and we expect them to do their part this December in Paris at the U.N. climate talks,” said DiCaprio in a statement.
One of Hollywood’s most outspoken (and generous) environmentalists, DiCaprio has used his Foundation to donate millions of dollars to ocean conservation and various environmental groups. Last year he was named an official UN Messenger of Peace and delivered a keynote address at the 2014 New York Climate Summit.
“The destruction of our planet continues at a pace we can no longer afford to ignore,” said DiCaprio in July. That month, his Foundation awarded $15 million in grants to environmental organizations, including Amazon Watch, TreePeople and the WWF. “I am proud to support these organizations who are working to solve humankind’s greatest challenge.”
DiCaprio’s pledge to divest his wealth from fossil fuels follows the recent news that the global divestment movement now encompasses $2.6 trillion in assets across various universities, religious institutions, organizations and private individuals. An analysis from Arabella Advisors puts the total at 436 institutions and 2,040 individuals across 43 countries.
“In 2014, foundations, universities, faith-based organizations, NGOs, and other mission-driven organizations led the movement,” the report states. “Today, large pension funds and private-sector actors such as insurance companies hold over 95 percent of the total combined assets of those committed to divest.”
The global initiative to pull money out of fossil fuel development and exploitation has been growing over the last few years, driven not only by altruism but economists’ fear that the world’s fossil fuel assets are poised to become obsolete in an increasingly renewable world. In January of this year, analysts from Goldman Sachs warned that some $930 billion in fossil fuel stocks are at risk of becoming “stranded assets.”
DiCaprio’s pledge to divest comes a year after the pledge of fellow actor and noted environmentalist Mark Ruffalo. “I’m in the process of divesting,” he told Divest/Invest last September. “I took the pledge, between three to five years, to completely divest in any fossil fuels or anything climate change-related and put it into renewable or clean tech.”