Copenhagen Municipality to sell its Maersk shares

Danish environmental activists pleased with the decision

DR reports that Copenhagen Municipality is selling all of its Maersk shares due to concerns about the corporation’s environmental impact.

The municipality had already announced in January that it would be selling a significant number of its shares in the coal, oil and gas industry.

READ MORE: Copenhagen mayor wants to sell off city’s investments in fossil fuels

Green city
A political majority in Copenhagen has voted to sell the shares due to what they see as Maersk’s hugely negative environmental impact.

“I have great veneration for Maersk – but I also have a decision from City Hall that clearly states we want to be a green city,” explained the city mayor, Frank Jensen.

“We cannot spend taxpayer money on shares in the coal, oil and gas industries.”

Five percent cut-off 
Copenhagen Municipality will also no longer buy the shares of companies that derive more than 5 percent of their turnover from oil, coal and gas.

Maersk, with its billion-dollar oil business, is therefore unsuitable for Copenhagen’s eco-friendly stance.

“We have set a maximum limit of 5 percent and [if a company has] more than 5 percent of its activities in the oil, gas and coal industry, we cannot hold shares in the company,” explained Jensen.

Green peace
Danish environmental activists are pleased with the news and hope other Danish municipalities will follow suit.

“This is getting bigger and bigger, and Copenhagen will convince other municipalities, both internationally and in Denmark, to follow in its footsteps,” John Nordbo, the climate and environment manager at WWF, told DR.

Feeling the heat
Though executives at Maersk have declined to comment, other companies in the line of fire are scrambling to try and convince municipalities to think carefully before selling their shares.

“We are obviously concerned about what this decision signals because we believe that we are part of the solution and not the problem,” Martin Næsby, the head of Oil Gas Denmark, told DR.

“I think people will understand that we need oil and gas for years to come. We don’t yet have the technology that would enable us to make do without them.”