Australian activist Julien Vincent wins 'Green Nobel'

Marion RaeAAP
Market Forces Executive Director Julien Vincent has won the Goldman Environmental Prize for activism
Camera IconMarket Forces Executive Director Julien Vincent has won the Goldman Environmental Prize for activism Credit: AAP

An Australian shareholder activist has won the highest global honour for achievements in grassroots environmental activism.

Julien Vincent has been recognised for persuading Australia’s big four banks to stop funding coal projects by 2030, and securing agreements with large insurers such as QBE and superannuation funds including Unisuper to exit coal.

The Melbourne-based head of shareholder activist organisation Market Forces said their boardroom advocacy is a major factor in the “grief-to-income ratio” now used by banks when considering lending to fossil fuel projects.

Mr Vincent says the 2022 climate election in Australia will provide impetus to the campaigns.

“The notion of people-power might be a little cliched, but that doesn’t change the fact that it works,” he said.

His sights are firmly set on ensuring investment dollars flow into renewable energy sources, rather than gas, under the newly elected Labor federal government.

The prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize, known as the ‘Green Nobel’, honours grassroots activists from six continents who have held governments and businesses to account and changed the course of action on the environment, climate change and emissions reduction.

“These campaigns work,” Mr Vincent said.

“We need them to reach a scale where major banks, investors, companies and governments are compelled to fund and facilitate a just, fair and rapid transition from fossil fuels.”

Then attorney-general Christian Porter in 2019 targeted “radical” Market Forces in a push against environmental groups, accusing the organisation of “widespread, co-ordinated harassment” of Australian resources companies.

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