Divestment - divestiture, noun. The action or process of selling off business interests or investments. From medieval Latin divestit.
During apartheid divestiture of South African stocks was a very slow moving process. Today the call to divest from fossil fuel is moving like lightening. Endowment mangers, pension funds, some church managed funds, universities, social minded investment clubs, many are dumping oil, gas, coal at lightening speed. In the last few months 30 universities in the UK divested, in the US a few city pension funds, Churches and also about 30 universities. All within a few months. The ball is rolling, as these groups switch investments to eco-friendly and civic neutral companies.
This move will not hurt BP or king coal now, but later it has to. Other investors will buy those stocks and corporate bonds for the good profit they turn. The damage comes with loss of prestige and influence, when few universities or municipality or church funds will touch you, then the new drilling permit or pipeline garners less support and banks will want less exposure with a disgraced industry. Recently a number of fossil fuel execs have noted this is some of the worse news encountered for a long time, one said when a poll of Harvard student body turns up over 80% for divestiture, we are in trouble. It turns out they can influence much of the government, but no longer so much of the investors, and public opinion is clamoring for a transition to clean energy, now.