Welby intervention on fossil fuels divestment opens door to church investment policy review

Following the news that the Archbishop of Canterbury played a crucial role in the divestment of £20 million of fossil fuel investments by a major investment firm, Christian Aid is asking if the time has come for the Church of England to re-examine its own investments in fossil fuels.

The divestment was by BMO Global Asset Management. It was reported that Justin Welby played a crucial part in the divestment decision in his role as president of the BMO’s responsible investment council.

Tom Viita, Christian Aid’s Head of Advocacy, said: “Moving investment out of fossil fuels is a moral challenge of our times, so the Archbishop is using his influence to encourage an institution like BMO to ditch its holdings in companies which cause damage to our world.

“BMO’s change of direction shows how fast the finance industry can move in response to the risks of climate change.

“When a major private company drops its fossil fuel investments for ethical reasons, one must ask whether The Church of England’s policy is keeping pace. So far it has taken the approach that engagement with fossil fuel companies is the way forward, not divestment.

“With such a big investment company now taking the route of divestment, it may be time for the church to re-examine its current policy. Throughout history the church has been known for providing prophetic leadership on the big moral issues, and there is none bigger than that of climate change.”

Christian Aid is campaigning to shift the flows of cash out of polluting fossil fuels and into clean energy alternatives focusing on the key role of the UK banks. To find out more about the Big Shift campaign visit www.christianaid.org.uk/bigshift.

Joe Ware

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