Earlier this year, The Russell Family Foundation joined a number of foundations across the country in divesting from fossil fuels to slow climate change. It specifically moved all of its endowment holdings out of coal stocks — coal being one of the key drivers of climate change around the world.
But the foundation also took the important step of reinvesting that money to accelerate climate change action. As part of its reinvestment strategy, the Russell Family Foundation put $1 million toward sustainable forestry through Ecotrust Forests.
Ecotrust Forests is an investment vehicle that buys temperate rainforest land in the Pacific Northwest — some of the most productive, carbon-absorbing forests anywhere in the world — and manages it under ecological principles for timber, carbon absorption, wildlife, clean water, and recreation. The fund now owns 30,000 acres managed under this approach, including several tracts on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington. One Ecotrust Forests property on the Olympic Peninsula has been shown to store at least 25% more carbon than conventionally managed forests.
In the following short film, Richard Woo, CEO of the Russell Family Foundation, and Bettina von Hagen, CEO of Ecotrust Forest Management, travel to Hood Canal on the Olympic Peninsula to explain their partnership, a model for the “divest-invest” movement.