‘Save the planet preacher!’ Prince William’s fossil fuel links spark furious backlash

William to visit New York for Earthshot Prize innovation summit

A new investigation has found the charity founded by the Duke of Cambridge, who last year launched the Earthshot Prize, keeps its investments in a bank that is one of the world’s biggest backers of fossil fuels. The revelation calls the purpose of William’s climate efforts into question, some members of the public say.

Writing on Twitter, Alish said: “Save the planet preacher that uses choppers as taxis. What were you expecting?

“He doesn’t care, he’s just virtue-signalling.”

The Royal Foundation, the charity set up by Prince William and Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, also places more than half of its investments in a fund — advertised as green — that owns shares in large food businesses.

Some of these companies buy palm oil from companies linked to deforestation, the investigation by the Associated Press (AP) claimed.

The duke, 40, has increasingly spoken out about the dangerous impacts of global warming.

In 2021, he was widely applauded for the introduction of the Earthshot Prize, which saw five winners being recognised for their work in helping to tackle climate change and environmental issues, each receiving a prize of £1million to further develop their initiatives.

On the Earthshot and Royal Foundation websites, he is quoted as saying: “The Earth is at a tipping point and we face a stark choice.”

READ MORE: Prince William and Kate ‘will show Harry and Meghan how it is done’ during US trip

Prince William

Prince William has come under fire over his charity’s links to a bank that invests in fossil fuels (Image: GETTY)

Yet, last year, the charity kept more than £1.1m with JP Morgan Chase, according to the most recent filings, and still invests with the corporation, AP reported.

The foundation also held £1.7million in a fund run by the British firm Cazenove Capital, according to the 2021 filing, the agency said.

The investments, which the Royal Foundation didn’t dispute when contacted by the AP, come amid repeated warnings by leading scientists that the world must urgently shift away from fossil fuels to sharply reduce emissions and prevent more frequent and intense extreme weather events from happening.

A Kensington Palace spokesperson said: “The Royal Foundation has followed the Church of England guidelines on ethical investment since 2015, and goes beyond these to prohibit investment in fossil fuel companies.

“We take our investment policies extremely seriously and review them regularly.”

The foundation stressed Cazenove was instructed to operate within its strict investment policy that follows the C of E investment guidance, and additionally its exclusions on fossil fuel companies.

Prince William says he’s a ‘stubborn optimist’ about climate change

A small management fee is paid on its investment to JP Morgan Asset Management and Cazenove Charity Responsible Multi-Asset Fund. The trustees take overall responsibility for the charity and its work, the foundation said.

Compared with some other charities, the Royal Foundation’s investments are said to be small, with little impact on the climate crisis.

However, they are not in line with the ethos of the foundation, which lists conservation and mental health as its key points of focus, or Prince William’s public statements, AP reported.

On social media, the investigation sparked heated debate.

According to Fawzia Ahmed, “William’s environment work is based on self-service”.

She said: “He isn’t a serious environment advocate.”

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Green Britain campaign

The controversy come amid warnings by scientists that the world must urgently tackle climate change (Image: DAILY EXPRESS)

For Julienne, the matter comes down to “hypocrisy, hypocrisy, hypocrisy” – an opinion backed by Ana Stacey, who wrote: “Hypocrite!

“Also, how do you have an award show about climate change but each year it’ll be in a different country? Doesn’t that defeat the purpose?”

The Duke of Cambridge announced last month the second Earthshot Prize awards ceremony will take place in Boston in December, and to begin the countdown to the event, he will travel to the US in September.

William will be in New York City next month to attend the Earthshot Prize Innovation Summit on September 21, as the Earthshot Prize — along with Bloomberg Philanthropies — is to co-host the summit, where inaugural finalists and winners of last year’s prize will gather.

The prince is set to address the assembled guests alongside Michael R Bloomberg, who works to help scale and replicate the Earthshot solutions as Global Advisor to the winners of the Earthshot Prize.

Commenting on William’s trip across the pond, Paul Laidlaw asked: “How will he get there … private jet or economy on a chartered plane?”

But not all view the claims about the duke’s environmental work as a disappointment, with some arguing investment in fossil fuels is commonplace in banking.

According to Anne Mctavish, the inquiry into his charity’s fossil fuel sites “is just trying to stir up controversy for the sake of it”.

She added: “How many banks that survived the crash don’t hold investments in energy or pharmaceutical or mining?

“They’re not illegal so will be open for investment.”

Several on Twitter agreed.

User @jay7yn said: “Name ONE legitimate bank that isn’t tied to fossil fuels.”

Along similar lines, Joan asked: “Could you provide a list of major banks that are not significant backers of fossil fuel?”