APRA AMCOS Joins Aussie Musos In Backing Fossil-Fuel Divestment

19 November 2015 | 1:53 pm | Staff Writer

Amplify Divestment wins itself a major supporter as the industry body vocally says 'no' to coal

The music industry's commitment to fossil-fuel divestment — which first reared its head back in December when artists such as Missy Higgins, John Butler, Rob Hirst and more aligned themselves with green-focused organisation Amplify Divestment — has received a healthy shot in the arm from industry body, and new supporter, APRA AMCOS.

In a statement highlighting the move's proximity to Paris' upcoming UN Climate Change Conference, APRA AMCOS expressed its intention to join the global fossil-fuel divestment movement "by beginning the process of shifting holdings to financial institutions committed to fossil-free investment".

"Musicians have always had an important role in shining a light on uncomfortable truths and there has never been a more important one than this: coal is out of key with the clear warnings of climate scientists, and it is now out of time," APRA AMCOS chair Jenny Morris said in the statement.

Her sentiments were echoed by the organisation's chief executive, Brett Cottle AM, who said: "By diversifying our investments away from institutions which support fossil-fuel projects, we aim to join those companies who want to send a strong message to the banking world that passive acceptance of inaction on climate change is simply no longer acceptable."

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APRA's decision to join Amplify Divestment's backers — a group that also includes artists such as Nigel Westlake, Ash Grunwald, Felix Riebl, Adalita, Declan Kelly, The Medics, David Bridie and even the Australian Guild Of Screen Composers — was welcomed by several of the musicians who have publicly lent their support to the group so far, with Higgins describing the group's move as "brilliant" and Hirst offering up "big hugs and [a] heartfelt slap on the back", while Westlake described the decision as "an emphatic statement from a vibrant and culturally significant institution, which highlights the urgency for a swift transition to renewable energy sources if we are to avoid a two-degree increase in global warming."

The commitment to fossil-fuel divestment is far from an about-face for APRA AMCOS, either, with the company already having taken wide steps to reduce its landfill footprint by 20 tonnes in the past two years, as well as being a visible supporter of campaigns in line with the beliefs of their socially conscious stakeholders.

Tim Hollo — the founder of the Amplify Divestment movement and director of Green Music Australia — said that APRA's decision to join the growing portion of the industry offering their support to fossil-fuel divestment was an "incredibly inspiring" display of leadership.

"It's fantastic to see not just so many musicians coming on board with this campaign, saying 'coal is wrong in an age of climate change, and we want nothing to do with it,' but also the hugely positive reception they are finding from their fans when they talk about what they're doing," Hollo said.

To find out more about Amplify Divestment, see the movement's website.