Leadership

Canadian Medical Association Puts Its Energy Into Fossil-Fuel Divestment

At a time when the Canadian Medical Association is taking a tougher stance against climate change, the association reveals that it has completed the divestment of its stakes in fossil fuel companies. The association is also offering an fossil-free investment option for doctors through its wealth-management subsidiary.

The Canadian Medical Association is putting its money where its mouth is.

Last month, CMA revealed it had fully divested funds away from fossil fuel companies, an approach that underlines its belief that climate change is a significant threat to the public’s health.

The divestment, which started more than a year ago, was one of the association’s bolder stances recently, and highlights a point that Doctors Without Borders cofounder Dr. James Orbinski, a keynoter at CMA’s annual meeting, spoke to in his speech.

“It’s time for the CMA to step up and step out, to be genuinely courageous on climate change,” Orbinski said last month, according to the Globe and Mail.

According to the National Observer, Orbinski cited the millions of people affected by the 2011 drought in the Horn of Africa, leading to half a million deaths.

“This is utterly unacceptable, that we simply know this and we allow it to continue. It requires that we see ourselves differently in relation to others in the world. This is the consequence of climate change. It is profound and it is utterly unacceptable,” Orbinski said.

CMA’s move away from fossil-fuel investments in April 2015 affected approximately $1.8 million of the association’s $29 million reserve. At the time, members of the group admitted that the move was relatively tiny, but that the impact of making the point wouldn’t be lost on them.

“This is a symbolic gesture: $1.8-million is a tiny thing but we need to do this to remain relevant,” Dr. Ewan Affleck, a physician based in Yellowknife, told The Globe and Mail.

Although the decision did not affect the CMA-owned wealth-management company MD Financial Management Inc., the firm has since launched a set of doctor-targeted funds that don’t rely on fossil fuel companies.

“These funds eliminate exposure across stock and bond holdings to companies involved in extracting, processing and transporting fossil fuels,” the company explains on its website.

(iStock/Thinkstock)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a senior editor for Associations Now, a former newspaper guy, and a man who is dangerous when armed with a good pun. MORE

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