RPS commits to cease fossil fuel investments

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) has taken the decision to cease all remaining financial investments in fossil fuels as soon as possible and by the end of 2022 at the latest.

Previously RPS has taken the approach of ‘Responsible Investing’, where they used their funds to drive change in the companies they invest in. They said today that the environment and human wellbeing have always been a core consideration of their investment approach.

However, they now recognise that this influence was not great enough to balance out the negative impacts of climate change. The RPS Assembly today decided to make this amendment to its investment strategy as part of the RPS continued drive to become an environmentally responsible organisation.

Divestment in fossil fuels is when an organisation sells any direct financial investments, such as stocks, bonds, or investment funds, it has in companies that extract fossil fuels, such as coal, gas, oil and tar sands.

The move builds on RPS action on sustainability and its commitment to tackle the climate and ecological emergency by taking a leading role in encouraging the profession to reduce the environmental impact of medicines.

RPS President Claire Anderson said: 

“This is a significant moment for RPS and as President of the Assembly I’m proud to announce RPS will divest from fossil fuels as soon as possible.

“RPS has always taken its responsibility for ethical investments extremely seriously. Following careful consideration of the options available, the Assembly will divest from fossil fuels. RPS will instruct its investment managers immediately to ensure that we will be completely disinvested by the end of 2022 and hopefully sooner.

“We’re committed to tackling the climate and ecological emergency both as an organisation and working with colleagues across the pharmacy profession. But pharmacy can’t act alone. We’re calling on the pharmaceutical industry, governments across GB and other stakeholders to work with us to make the changes that are needed to tackle the climate emergency.”

Current long-standing investments made by RPS already fully integrate the principles of ESG, for example actively excluding harmful activities such as coal-mining and tobacco. RPS is a signatory to the Professional Bodies Climate Action Charter and will shortly become a member of the UK Health Alliance on Climate Change.   

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