Fidelity Investments Dumps Occidental Petroleum
Wetlands activists protest at Fidelity's Financial District Investment Center.
As part of the campaign against oil corporation Occidental Petroleum (Oxy)'s socially and ecologically destructive oil exploration project on the traditional cloudforest lands of Colombia's U'wa people, Wetlands and other environmental and human rights groups protestested Fidelity Investments, one of Occidental's largest shareholders. Our efforts were successful.
"Fidelity Investments has dumped 18 million shares of Oxy stock, approximately 60% of their holdings worth over $412 million dollars! This divestment came on the heels of mass protest around the world - thousands of people mobilized to demonstrate at over 75 Fidelity offices, non-violent occupy Fidelity investor centers, symbolically dump blood and oil and generate tons of bad publicity for Fidelity. But of course as a Fidelity spokesperson told Money magazine in October this historic mobilization had no real impact and Fidelity's massive divestment 'was in no way related to the protests.' Surrrrreeee. We believe that about as much as we believe Fidelity's slogan that they help their customers "invest responsibly". Fidelity's divestment is a huge step towards victory and shows that coordinated grassroots pressure is starting to push investors beyond just their bottom line to take the environment and human rights into account." –Rainforest Action Network
Wetlands played a key role in this victory, holding weekly vigils at Fidelity Investment Centers in New York City and teaming with Rainforest Action Network, Boston Rainforest Action Group, and others to organize a major action at Fidelity's corporate headquarters in Boston.
Victories like this eventually led Occidental Petroleum to pull out of U'wa land. While the company claims that only a failure to find oil and not protest led them to pull out of U'wa lands, activists consider this yet another example of a corporation unwilling to admit the power of actiivst campaigns.
According to Atossa Soltani, executive director of Amazon Watch, "While the company claims that the decade of unwavering opposition from the U"wa, intense international pressure and permanent damage to their reputation played no part in the decision, its actions paint a different picture. Instead of drilling new test wells, as is standard industry practice, the company declared its plans to return the entire Siriri oil block to the Colombian government."