What Does Divest Mean

Discover the meaning of divestment and why individuals, companies, and institutions choose to sell off assets. Explore examples, case studies, and statistics.


Divestment is a strategic decision taken by individuals, companies, or institutions to sell off assets or investments for various reasons. Let’s delve deeper into what divest means and its implications.

Definition of Divest

Divest means to sell off or get rid of assets, investments, or financial holdings. This could include stocks, properties, businesses, or any other form of ownership.

Reasons for Divestment

  • 1. Ethical reasons: Divesting from companies that are involved in unethical practices or industries.
  • 2. Financial reasons: To improve liquidity, reduce debt, or reallocate funds to more promising investments.
  • 3. Strategic reasons: Changing business focus, restructuring operations, or responding to market trends.

Examples of Divestment

One of the most famous examples of divestment is the movement to divest from fossil fuel companies due to environmental concerns. Institutions and individuals are selling off their holdings in these companies to push for a shift towards renewable energy.

Case Studies

Harvard University announced in 2019 that it would divest from fossil fuels, making it one of the largest educational institutions to do so. This decision was driven by student activism and concern for climate change.

Statistics on Divestment

According to a report by the Global Divestment Campaign, over $14 trillion has been divested from fossil fuel companies since 2011. This movement is gaining momentum worldwide.


Divestment is a powerful tool for individuals and organizations to align their values with their investments and drive social change. Understanding what divest means and its impact is crucial in making informed financial decisions.

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