Special Issue "Divestment and Sustainability"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 December 2019).

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Dr. Olaf Weber
Guest Editor
School of Environment, Enterprise and Development (SEED), University of Waterloo, France
Interests: sustainable finance, green banking, corporate social responsibility, socially responsible investment

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Recently, divestment has been increasingly discussed. What started as an activity by engaged environmentalists has been taken up by the financial community and by academic research on finance and sustainability. The financial and environmental, and social consequences of divestment, however, are discussed controversially. Furthermore, divestment is perceived as an exclusive strategy by some and as s strategy that should be used in combination with other methods of socially responsible investment, such as engagement.

To close the gap in the knowledge about divestment and its intended and unintended effects, the studies of this Special Issue are expected to address:

  • The identification of areas of conflict including case analysis. Compatibilities and incompatibilities with other activities undertaken in finance and banking that addresses sustainable development.
  • Analysis, measurement and management of both, risks and impacts of divestment with regard to financial returns and sustainability.
  • Analysis and discussion of the effect of divestment on divested firms, such as representatives from the fossil fuel industry.
  • Analysis of legal issues of divestment, such as fiduciary duty.
  • Analysis and understanding carbon footprints of fossil fuel divestment scenarios.
  • Analysis of regional differences of the financial, environment, and social effects of divestment.
  • Understanding the impact of divestment events, such as announcement and pledges.
  • Analysis of divestment as a subgroup of socially responsible investment.
  • Analyses of the political frameworks that support or are a barrier for divestment.
  • Analysis of activities to prevent divestment.

Prof. Olaf Weber
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • Divestment
  • sustainability
  • finance
  • socially responsible investment
  • impact
  • banking
  • fossil fuel

Published Papers (1 paper)

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Open AccessArticle
The Impact of Divestment Announcements on the Share Price of Fossil Fuel Stocks
Sustainability 2019, 11(11), 3122; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11113122 - 03 Jun 2019
Cited by 3
Several prominent institutional investors concerned about climate change have announced their intention or have divested from fossil fuel shares, to limit their exposure to the industry. The act of fossil fuel divestment may directly depress share prices or stigmatize the industry’s reputation, resulting [...] Read more.
Several prominent institutional investors concerned about climate change have announced their intention or have divested from fossil fuel shares, to limit their exposure to the industry. The act of fossil fuel divestment may directly depress share prices or stigmatize the industry’s reputation, resulting in lower share value. While there has been considerable research conducted on the performance of the fossil fuel industry, there is not yet any empirical evidence that divestment announcements influence share prices. Adopting an event study methodology, this study measures abnormal deviations in stock prices of the top 200 global oil, gas, and coal companies by proven reserves, on days of prominent divestment announcements. Events are analyzed independently and in aggregate. The results make several notable contributions. While many events experienced short-term negative abnormal returns around the event day, the effects of events were more pronounced over longer event windows following the New York Climate March, suggesting a shift in investor perception. The results also find that divestment announcements related to campaigns, pledges, and endorsements all have a significant effect over the short-term event window. Finally, the results control for the general underperformance of the industry over the estimation window, attesting that the price change is caused by divestment announcements. Several robustness tests using alternate expected returns models and statistical tests were conducted to ensure the accuracy of the result. Overall, this study finds that divestment announcements decrease the share price of the fossil fuel companies, and thus, we conclude that ‘divestors’ can influence the share price of their target companies. Theoretically, the result adds new knowledge regarding the efficacy of the efficient market hypothesis in relation to divestment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Divestment and Sustainability)
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