Prince William’s Royal Foundation green charity has investments tied to fossil fuels, unsustainable palm oil

The Royal Foundation, the conservation charity founded by Prince William and his wife Catherine, keeps its investments in a bank that is one of the world’s biggest backers of fossil fuels, The Associated Press has learned.

The foundation also places more than half of its investments in a fund advertised as green which owns shares in large food companies that buy palm oil from companies linked to deforestation.

“The Earth is at a tipping point and we face a stark choice,” the prince, a well-known environmentalist, is quoted as saying on the websites of the Earthshot Prize — which he launched in 2020 with David Attenborough — and the Royal Foundation.

Yet in 2021, the charity received more than 1.1 million pounds ($1.9 million) with JPMorgan Chase, according to the most recent filings, and still invests with the corporation today.

The foundation also held 1.7 million pounds in a fund run by British firm Cazenove Capital Management, according to the 2021 filing.

As with JPMorgan, it still keeps funds with Cazenove, which in May had securities linked to deforestation through their use of palm oil.

The foundation invested similar amounts in both funds in 2020, its older filings show.

As of December 2021, the charity also held more than 10 million pounds in cash.

The investments, which the Royal Foundation did not dispute when contacted by AP, come as top scientists repeatedly warn that the world must shift away from fossil fuels to sharply reduce emissions and avoid more and increasingly intense extreme weather events.

Financial experts say investments like those of the foundation can be blind spots for charities and philanthropies.

Charities ‘must walk the walk’

As climate change is an increasing area of ​​attention for foundations and others, organizations have sometimes struggled to recognize where their own investments lie and align them with more environmentally friendly choices, despite growing numbers of ways to steer clear of funds linked to fossil fuels.

Like the Royal Foundation, in recent years other foundations, including high-profile British charities like the National Trust and Wellcome Trust, have also faced criticism for investments with strong connections to fossil fuels or environmentally harmful practices.

Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist Bill Gates announced that he divested his foundation’s direct oil and gas holdings in 2019.