Once upon a time, the name John D. Rockefeller was synonymous with big oil, and some of the very worst of monopolistic big business. The descendants of John D. have gone on to do better things with their name and money (not all of them, of course), and, earlier this week, announced that they would be joining a growing movement among universities and church groups to divest all stakes in companies that can be tied to global warning.

Companies like Exxon-Mobil, Chevron, and Amoco which, auspiciously, were spawned by the breakup of the Rockefeller’s Standard Oil company in the first place!

“There is a moral imperative to preserve a healthy planet,” said Valerie Rockefeller Wayne, a great-great-granddaughter of the oil magnate and a Rockefeller Brothers’ Fund trustee. According to reports, the trust could move as much as $900 million into alternative energy research like wind, tidal, and solar.

Finally, while the decision to divest the Rockefeller Brothers’ Fund from fossils might be seen as something John D. would oppose, Stephen Heintz, director of the Fund, believes John D. would have supported the move. “We are quite convinced that if he were alive today, as an astute businessman looking out to the future, he would be moving out of fossil fuels and investing in clean, renewable energy,” he explains. Adding that the move, which might be seen as largely symbolic, “is important symbolism. We’re making a moral case, but also, increasingly, an economic case.”

So, symbolism. You’ve gotta love a guy who thinks of a $900 million move as “symbolism”, don’t you? Here’s hoping John D.’s money goes to better use than that.


Source | Images: the Independent (UK).