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What is Fossil Fuel-Free Investing? – What Does Fossil Fuel Free Mean?

Green Century° has a very clear definition of fossil fuel free investing.

The Green Century Funds do not invest in companies that explore for, extract, process, refine, and transmit coal, oil, or gas; burn fossil fuels to make electricity; or possess carbon reserves.

Our fossil fuel investing exclusion is explicit in our prospectus. Any fund claiming to be fossil fuel free should explicitly exclude those investments in its prospects. Without it, the fossil fuel free claims may just be a marketing gimmick.

Avoiding fossil fuel investments may offer financial benefits. The fossil fuel sector has been one of the worst performing sector for the last year and decade. Right now, the industry is in the midst of a number of bankruptcies, write offs, and layoffs. Do you think fossil fuels are the energy source of the future?

Please keep in mind that a sustainable investment strategy that incorporates environmental, social, and governance (ESG) criteria may result in lower or higher returns than an investment strategy that does not include such criteria.

Distinctions between “low carbon” and fossil fuel free funds

  • A so-called “low carbon” mutual fund may invest in coal, oil, and gas companies. Instead of simply excluding the companies most to blame for their climate crisis, they may evaluate carbon emissions, carbon reserves, or the overall carbon footprint of a company.
  • Only portfolios with zero or “0.00%” in the energy sector would be consistent with fossil fuel free investments. Download our Fossil Fuel Free Investing Guide for additional guidance.


While Green Century frequently presses companies to expand their use of renewable energy, it would be virtually impossible to construct a diversified portfolio of publicly-traded companies that do not use fossil fuels in any way.

A mutual fund that eschews investments in fossil fuel companies does not necessarily invest in companies that provide renewable energy or energy efficiency products – but some do! The Green Century Funds invest in environmental leaders and innovators, including renewable energy, energy and water efficiency, and healthy food companies.

If you are interested in investing in an environmentally-responsible mutual fund, be sure to check the specific companies held by the fund. You can also ask how a fund supports clean energy policy or advocates for companies to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.

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°Green Century Capital Management, Inc. (Green Century) is the investment advisor to the Green Century Funds (the Funds).

You should carefully consider the Funds’ investment objectives, risks, charges and expenses before investing. To obtain a Prospectus that contains this and other information about the Funds, please click here for more information, email or call 1-800-934-7336. Please read the Prospectus carefully before investing.

Stocks will fluctuate in response to factors that may affect a single company, industry, sector, country, region or the market as a whole and may perform worse than the market. Foreign securities are subject to additional risks such as currency fluctuations, regional economic and political conditions, differences in accounting methods, and other unique risks compared to investing in securities of U.S. issuers. Bonds are subject to risks including interest rate, credit, and inflation. A sustainable investment strategy which incorporates environmental, social and governance criteria may result in lower or higher returns than an investment strategy that does not include such criteria.

The Green Century Funds are distributed by UMB Distribution Services, LLC., 235 W Galena Street, Milwaukee, WI 53212.