TIAA-CREF Divests from Genocide

This week’s NewsAnalysis from the Sea Change Radio Headlines Anchor, Tania Haldar Hart:

So, what’s the connection between investing and genocide in the first place??  I’m no expert on the ethics of investing but I was intrigued by recent news that TIAA-CREF, the huge retirement fund for teachers and academics, divested its holdings in companies considered complicit with genocide.  Following up on its March 2009 commitment, TIAA-CREF sold all of its holdings in four Asian state-owned oil companies. Its research showed continued complicity in Sudanese genocide at PetroChina, CNPC Hong Kong, Oil and Natural Gas Corporation and Sinopec. Financial analysis also showed that divestment would have an insignificant impact on the performance of retirees’ portfolios.

Investors Against Genocide is a non-profit which advocates for investors to divest shares in companies linked to genocide.  IAG successfully campaigned to convince TIAA-CREF to set an example, leading the way to genocide-free investing. The intention is to sever the ties between genocidal regimes and mutual fund portfolios with the goal of drying up the streams of funding that support this abuse of basic human rights.

IAG’s intentions are clear but how realistic are the ultimate goals that the Government of Sudan end its deadly genocide in Darfur and that investment firms avoid investing in genocide? How much of a difference can divestment really make in upholding humanitarian causes??

Share your thoughts in the comments section below, or on our Facebook fan page.

For the Sea Change NewsAnalysis, I’m Tania Haldar Hart.

About Bill Baue

Bill Baue is Co-Director of Sea Change Media, a non-profit that makes connections in the shift to social, environmental, and economic sustainability. He co-hosts/produces Sea Change Radio, a nationally syndicated show that podcasts globally.