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Tell DFA: Say NO to dirty palm oil!

Dimensional Fund Advisors manages funds for many city and state governments across the U.S. And it has hundreds of millions of dollars invested in dirty palm oil companies. 

As a company that manages our local governments' money, DFA has a responsibility to act in the best interests of people and the planet. That’s why it needs to stop supporting an industry that’s causing deforestation and climate change, killing endangered species and violating human rights, and to invest instead in solutions to this global crisis. 

Urge DFA to go Deforestation and Land Grab-Free!

Dear David Booth, CEO of Dimensional Fund Advisors,

I am writing to ask that you institute a Deforestation and Land Grab-Free investment policy across all of your investment vehicles. Specifically, I am concerned that Dimensional Fund Advisors holds hundreds of millions of dollars worth of shares in destructive palm oil companies. Dimensional’s continued financing of palm oil’s worst offenders therefore contributes to far-reaching environmental and social problems and exposes both Dimensional and its clients to reputational and financial risk. 

Palm oil, used in over half the food and cosmetics on our shelves, as well as in biofuels in many countries, is the single fastest growing driver of deforestation and displacement of forest-dwelling indigenous communities across the tropics, and is a major driver of climate change. Deforestation is responsible for some 10-15 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions – more than the emissions from all the cars, trucks, trains, and buses in the world each year combined. While palm oil production damages the environment as a whole, it has a particularly acute impact on the human rights of marginalized people in the global south, through coercive takeovers of their lands, well-documented labor abuses, and far-reaching impacts on cultures and livelihoods. As such, it is neither sustainable nor just. 

As the palm oil sector’s environmental and social impacts become more widely recognized, investments in these destructive palm oil companies are becoming increasingly risky. 

Many banks and institutional investors are increasingly adopting policies to prevent financing companies that operate in ways that are illegal or unethical – and I believe Dimensional should do the same. The Norwegian Government Pension Fund, for example, excludes most of the world's largest palm oil companies – including the companies held by Dimensional – because they fail to meet the fund’s ethical criteria. 

I believe Dimensional should follow suit and commit to a Deforestation and Land Grab-Free investment policy that entails four pillars of responsibility: to publicly disclose its palm oil holdings, commit to a deforestation-free, land grab-free investment policy, exclude companies that do not meet the criteria of the aforementioned policy, advocate with the companies it owns to repair social and environmental harm; and to re-invest in a more sustainable future.

Thank you for your consideration.


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