Rockefeller Trust Will Divest Itself of Oil Investments

Image: tar sands processing plant
A tar sands processing plant in Alberta.TODD KOROL / Reuters

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The Rockefeller family, which harnessed the oil industry to amass one of the greatest fortunes in American history, is getting out of oil.

The heirs of John D. Rockefeller, who founded Standard Oil in 1870 and became the wealthiest man in the United States, plan to announce Monday that their charitable trust will sell its investments in fossil fuels.

The announcement came a day ahead of a United Nations summit on climate change, and as world scientists reported that countries are spewing a record amount of carbon pollution into the air.

The trust, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, was valued at $844 million at the end of last year. The Rockefeller family joins a growing movement of charities, pension funds, universities and other entities that have moved money out of fossil-fuel investments and into cleaner energy.

Arabella Advisors, which tracks the trend, reports that institutions, governments and people who control $50 billion investments in all. The New York Times and The Washington Post first reported the Rockefeller family’s plans.


— Erin McClam