After tireless pressure, Jody Freeman resigns from ConocoPhillips

The controversial Harvard climate advisor left the oil giant following op-eds, FOIA requests, and protests from FFDH and allies

Divest Harvard
3 min readAug 7, 2023

Cambridge, MA: On an August 3 website post, controversial Harvard Law Professor and climate advisor Jody Freeman stated that she had “stepped off the ConocoPhillips board to focus on my research at Harvard and make space for some new opportunities.” This move followed sustained public pressure from Fossil Fuel Divest Harvard and a months-long coordinated campaign with several allied groups. FFDH’s full statement is below.

FFDH recognizes and celebrates Jody Freeman’s resignation from the board of ConocoPhillips. As the Director of Harvard Law School’s Environmental and Energy Law Program and co-chair of Harvard’s Presidential Committee on Sustainability, Freeman’s ties to big oil have been a major focus of FFDH’s campaign for a fossil-free campus for years. Her resignation from ConocoPhillips shows the power of well-informed public pressure and student organizing.

We have been at the forefront of the fight against Freeman’s conflict of interest for years by publishing research on her ties to big oil, obtaining evidence of her lobbying on behalf of ConocoPhillips, and leading an unwavering public pressure campaign. This past March, we ramped up our campaign following Biden’s approval of the disastrous Willow Project, a massive oil drilling operation funded by ConocoPhillips. We once again demanded that Freeman end this conflict of interest in an open letter that gained the attention of prominent news outlets, such as The Washington Post.

In this letter, FFDH joined law students and faculty to call on Freeman to “choose between [her] Harvard leadership responsibilities and [her] loyalties to the fossil fuel industry;” we are pleased to see that she chose the latter.

Additionally, FFDH is grateful for the coalition support displayed by Climate Defiance and XR Boston, who disrupted a Harvard climate summit this July to call out the incompatibility of Freeman’s climate work and her ties to a major climate criminal.

In response to FFDH’s public pressure, members of Climate Defiance and XR Boston protested a Harvard climate event, calling out Freeman’s ties to the Willow Project.

We also recognize that the overarching issue of placing profits over people still runs rampant on Harvard’s campus. There is still much to be done before Harvard can truly consider itself a climate leader. For example, Harvard still allows oil and gas companies to sponsor its climate research and to host recruiting events on campus. Similarly, as outlined in our recently published manifesto, we stand in solidarity with the organizing of Harvard Prison Divestment Campaign, Harvard Out of Occupied Palestine, Stop Harvard Land Grabs, and other student movements fighting to hold Harvard financially and ethically accountable.

FFDH has a long history of organizational power and movement success; we are the campaign that forced Harvard to divest its endowment from the fossil fuel industry, and we will continue our work to expose and dismantle the ties Harvard retains to the fossil fuel industry by fighting for fossil free research, the removal of big oil from recruitment events, ethical land practices, and more.

Fossil Fuel Divest Harvard is a coalition of students, alumni, and faculty fighting for a just and sustainable future. We won a major victory in 2021 when we got Harvard to divest its endowment from fossil fuels, but we are still fighting for Harvard to become a true climate leader by disclosing its ties to the fossil fuel industry, divesting all capital and name recognition from groups causing environmental injustice, and reinvesting in a sustainable and equitable future for all.

To learn more, follow us on Twitter and Instagram. Harvard students, want to get involved in our student campaign? Email Are you an alum? Check out



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We made Harvard commit to divestment. Now, the fight continues for climate and endowment justice.