Councilors Lydia Edwards, Michelle Wu and Matt O’Malley have filed an ordinance that would require the city to divest from the tobacco industry, fossil fuel companies, and private prisons.
“What we choose to invest in is a reflection of our values,” said Councilor Edwards. “These three industries do not reflect the values of Boston. We should be investing our city’s dollars in industries that will help bring about a cleaner, more sustainable and more equitable future. We can do this without sacrificing the profitability of pension funds and other city investments. I’m grateful for the partnership of Councilors Wu and O’Malley on this issue and look forward to bringing our city finances more in line with our values.”
“We have an exciting opportunity to align City policy with the urgency demanded of us by this moment of reckoning with racial and environmental injustice,” said Councilor Wu. “Massachusetts was the first state to divest from South Africa in 1982 and the first to divest all state pension funds from tobacco companies in 1997. Now, we can build on that legacy by refusing to fund dangerous, predatory private prisons, tobacco companies and fossil fuel companies. Let’s show the country that a city can thrive by investing in the next generation.”
“The City of Boston has continued to lead on environmental, economic and social justice issues,” said Councilor O’Malley and Chairman of the Environment, Resiliency and Parks Committee. “Through codifying our values through this ordinance, we are demonstrating our commitment to addressing global climate change and its impacts on our city for future generations to come.”
The ordinance also requires the city’s Collector-Treasurer to provide the City Council a report within 120 days of passage outlining the financial instruments and investments permitted for the city’s treasury and pension funds along with an analysis of the ability for the city to invest in land or housing, cooperative businesses, and public infrastructure projects. The ordinance was to be formally introduced during Wednesday’s council meeting.