Climate Change Action and Fossil Fuel Investments
An Ethical Investment Advisory Group was appointed following discussions at General Synod 2019 and is reviewing the Ethical Investment Policy. Its work is on-going.
The relevant motion passed at General Synod 2019 stated that:
• The Ethical Investment Policy be updated to reflect the moral imperative to divest fully from fossil fuels and to extend the list of restricted categories for direct investments and pooled funds;
• Pending agreement of a revised Ethical Investment Policy, the current Ethical Investment Policy be retained; and
• There be formed an Ethical Investment Advisory Group to develop a strategy to enable the SEC to completely disinvest from unethical sources of revenue.”
In 2020 the last direct investment in a company involved in the extraction of fossil fuels was sold and agreements put in place with the Fund Managers to ensure that no further such direct investments are made.
The Policy Framework for Investment in Pooled Funds which was approved by General Synod in June 2021 is available here.
In 2017, the General Synod highly commended a joint report (which can be read here) from the Church in Society Committee and Investment Committee on Climate Change Action and Fossil Fuel Investments and, highly conscious of its responsibilities as a Christian Church, passed the Motion which:
A) Calls on all members, congregations and Dioceses to develop approaches consistent with a low carbon economy;
B) Encourages the Church in Society and Investment Committees to work with and as part of the Church Investors Group as a means of informing and setting the Scottish Episcopal Church’s policy on investment in an era of climate change and helping small investors to implement such policies;
C) Seeks to follow the example of other churches in restricting its direct investments in companies deriving over 10% of their revenues from the extraction of thermal coal or tar sands;
D) Asks for an annual meeting with the Scottish Episcopal Church’s Investment Managers, currently Baillie Gifford, at which the means of agreeing any limits to investments in companies with a poor environmental profile and encouraging the use of targets and processes suggested by the Church Investors Group might be discussed;
E) Seeks to put in place a mechanism, which would allow the policy of the Church Investors Group on voting at company meetings, to be put into effect;
F) Encourages the Scottish Episcopal Church Pension Fund Trustees to follow similar approaches.
The Investment and Church in Society Committees then worked together in implementing the recommendations of the report.
In the context of the Whole Church Mission and Ministry Policy the Scottish Episcopal Church, through its Church in Society Committee, adopted a Statement of Principles concerning environmental sustainability and how it is applied within the mission of the Church.
In 2011 General Synod approved the Statement of Principles for Environmental Sustainability and the Mission of the Church.
Many congregations across the Scottish Episcopal Church have been awarded ‘Eco-Congregation’ status as have most of the seven dioceses.