The British Medical Association (BMA) has today voted to end its investments in fossil fuels, becoming the first health-focused institution in the world to do so.
Further underlining the growing momentum of the divestment movement around the world, the BMA follows in the footsteps of prestigious universities, over 27 cities, 29 religious institutions and 17 major investment foundations in divesting from dirty energy.
David McCoy, public health doctor and Chair of UK health charity Medact welcomed the decision. He said:
We need a completely and radically different and sustainable pattern of energy production and consumption. Shifting money away from the fossil fuel industry is an important step in that direction. In the same way that ethical investors choose not to profit from tobacco and arm sales, the health community worldwide is correctly calling for divestment from another set of harmful activities.
Today’s vote highlighted strong support from members of the BMA – the representative body of doctors in the UK – to “transfer their investment from energy companies whose primary business relies upon fossil fuels to those providing renewable energy sources”, and comes on the back of increasing support for fossil fuel divestment within the UK health community.
Earlier this year, health charities Medact and Healthy Planet UK launched a campaign calling on UK health organisations to divest from dirty energy, a call which was supported in an editorial in the British Medical Journal.
Medical student and Healthy Planet UKCoordinator, Isobel Braithwaite said:
Climate change has profound implications for human health, as does the air pollution produced by fossil fuels. By adding the voice of health professionals, this decision will add considerable momentum to the international movement for divestment from fossil fuels.
Campaigners hope that today’s vote will put the BMA in a strong position to advocate for other organisations, including other national medical and nursing organisations, to do likewise and end their support for the very companies driving “the greatest global health threat of the 21st century”.