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Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation drops BP investment

In its continued move to divest from its $40bn fossil fuel endowment, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, according to regulatory filings from to the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), has sold off its entire holding in BP.

The stake, $187m worth, was sold between September and December 2015. This follows a sale of $842m in ExxonMobil stock and continues the foundation’s downward trend of investing in fossils fuels. The known investments of the foundation’s fossil fuel portfolio has dropped by 85 per cent since 2014, according to the Guardian.

“We are thrilled that the Gates foundation continues to divest from fossil fuel stocks, but it’s time to divest the rest. Investing in oil companies is completely inconsistent with the Gates foundation mission to ensure that everybody has the chance to live a healthy, productive life,” Alec Connon, an organizer for the Gates Divest campaign, told the Guardian.

Though it does not publicly comment on its investments, public records indicate that the combined sell-offs of BP and ExxonMobil stock leaves just $200m in the category. An analyst told the Guardian that, had the Gates foundation divested from fossil fuels in 2012, they would have been “$1.9bn better off,” and could have used the funds to spend on its global initiatives. Global energy, coal, oil and gas stocks have seen substantial loss in value, playing a part in the calculation.

The Guardian, with its “Keep it in the ground” campaign, encouraging both the Bill and Melinda Gates and the Wellcome Trust, the world’s largest health charity, has put pressure on both to continue moves towards eliminating fossil fuel investment. For his part, Bill Gates, Microsoft’s co-founder, has indicated that he will invest $2bn in renewable technology initiatives, telling the Financial Times last June that he hopes to “‘bend the curve’ in combating climate change.”

Former Seattle mayor, Mike McGinn, who led the city’s commitment to divestment while in office, told the Guardian, “They’re moving their financial capital - now it’s time to use their moral capital and publicly commit to divestment. By taking a public stand, Bill and Melinda Gates could help change the debate and speed up the international response to global warming.”

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