Many of our parishes have been accustomed to investing their savings with the CBF (Central Board of Finance) Church of England Funds, and a number of us have been concerned that those investments should not be in businesses which contribute to global heating.
You may be aware that the CBF already pays significant attention to climate change, not least through the Transition Pathway Initiative which guides the companies towards a low carbon future. However up until now actual divestments have been limited to coal and tar sands, but not yet from oil and gas.
However change is on the way. The overall body, the CCLA (Churches, Charities and Local Authorities) of which the CBF funds are a part, has become aware that increasing numbers of charities view the extraction of fossil fuels as an inherently unethical activity. For this reason it has decided to alter the investment policy followed by its COIF (Charities Official Investment Fund) Charities Ethical Investment Fund to become “fossil free” no later than the 1st December 2019. After that date this Fund will not invest in any company that generates more than 10% of its revenue from the extraction of thermal coal or oil or gas.
Many parishes have already invested in this Ethical Investment Fund. From the 1st December there is an added reason to do so. Divestment from fossil fuels is a good thing in itself and shows others that we put our money where our mouth is.
Bishop’s Adviser for the Environment