Divestment Adds to GMP’s Work with Customers Across Vermont Cutting More Than 1 Million Pounds of Carbon This Week
COLCHESTER, Vt. – Green Mountain Power (GMP) announced it is divesting its pension fund from fossil fuel companies. With the reinvestment of about $13.5 million finalized this week, the company’s $180 million pension fund is 99.2% divested, and positive impacts are expected on financial returns. The final .8% of investments will be divested by the end of 2020. Company President and CEO Mary Powell made the announcement alongside renowned environmentalist Bill McKibben during a Climate Week divestment event in New York City Thursday evening.
“Divestment began with colleges and churches — it’s truly a watershed moment when a utility firmly turns its financial back on the fossil fuel era,” said Bill McKibben, Schumann Distinguished Scholar at Middlebury College and Founder of 350.org.
GMP’s retirement board made the official decision to divest at its quarterly meeting September 5, after months of work.
“This is an important step we can take to make sure the dollars invested for our union and non-union employees are not only invested wisely but in a way that is doing good for the planet and addresses the climate crisis,” said Powell. “As a certified B Corp business, we are committed to using energy as a force for good to help our communities, our environment, and our employees, and divesting is the right thing to do.”
The announcement caps a week of work by GMP employees to support local efforts to reduce carbon emissions in communities GMP serves across Vermont. Over the week, GMP actions helped cut 1 million pounds of carbon, which is the equivalent of taking 100 vehicles off the road or not using about 1,000 barrels of oil.
GMP’s divestment from fossil fuels is building on the commitment the company made this spring to provide Vermonters with 100% carbon-free power by 2025 and 100% renewable power by 2030, all while maintaining cost-effective, reliable service. GMP’s retirement board determined that to protect retirees, the last .8% of pension investments will be divested next year.
“GMP’s pension is a critical benefit for many of our union members, and we know GMP is working to ensure it continues to deliver on what employees have been promised, as the company moves to cleaner investments,” said Tim Watkins, business manager for IBEW Local 300.
GMP’s retirement board is made up of GMP executives and employees, including two IBEW union members who represent GMP’s more than 280 unionized workers. GMP closed its pension fund to new employees in 2008.
About Green Mountain Power
Green Mountain Power (GMP) serves approximately 265,000 residential and business customers in Vermont and is partnering with them to improve lives and transform communities. GMP is focused on a new way of doing business to meet the needs of customers with integrated energy services that help people use less energy and save money, while continuing to generate clean, cost-effective and reliable power in Vermont. GMP earned a spot on Fast Company’s Most Innovative Companies in the World list three years in a row (2017, 2018, 2019). GMP is the first utility in the world to get a B Corp certification, meeting rigorous social, environmental, accountability and transparency standards and committing to use business as a force for good. J.D. Power’s 2018 and 2019 rankings put GMP among top utilities for customer satisfaction. In 2019, GMP was named “One of the Best Places To Work in Vermont” by Vermont Business Magazine and the Vermont Chamber of Commerce, and was the winner of the Deane C. Davis Outstanding Vermont Business of the Year Award.
Kristin Kelly, Green Mountain Power