This week, 42 faith institutions from 14 countries announced their divestment from fossil fuels. This is the largest divestment from fossil fuels from faith institutions around the world to date. Faith organisations in the UK, Argentina, Australia, Bangladesh, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Kenya, Myanmar, Spain and the United States are taking part.
“This is the largest divestment from fossil fuels from faith institutions around the world to date. Faith organisations in the UK, Argentina, Australia, Bangladesh, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Kenya, Myanmar, Spain and the United States are taking part.
Father Endra Wijayanta, director of the Justice, Peace, and Integrity of Creation Commission for the Archdiocese of Semarang, in Indonesia, said: ‘In this COVID-19 pandemic, it is the exact time not only to reflect, but to act. We have to stop our ecological spiral of death. We have to revive our ecological hope, in massive repentance of humankind, by taking the pathway to more sustainable living.‘
The Catholic, Anglican, Methodist, United Reformed, Baptist, Quaker, and Buddhist institutions announcing their divestment have over $1.3B in assets under management. Leading members of the coalition include the World Council of Churches, the Global Catholic Climate Movement, and Green Anglicans, and Greenfaith.
This announcement has a long history of leadership among faith communities to divest from fossil fuels and the banks that finance these extractive industries. Since 2012, the fossil fuel divestment movement has mobilised more than $14 trillion in commitments from nearly 1,200 organisations, governments, businesses, colleges, and nonprofit organisations. Faith communities, at 30%, make up the largest share of these divestment pledges. GreenFaith has long been a leader in supporting faith institutions’ divestment and reinvestment into green energy.
The former Archbishop of Canterbury, Reverend Dr Rowan Williams, puts it well when he says: “The current health crisis has highlighted as never before the need for coherent international action in the face of global threat. Can we learn the lesson and apply it to the global threat of climate change? To do so means taking practical and effective steps to reduce our lethal dependence on fossil fuels.’’ GreenFaith, our members and all of our international partners are applauding this powerful and courageous action.
GreenFaith’s Reverend Fletcher Harper said: “Extractive corporations, and the banks that finance them, are demanding government bailouts and the dismantling of environmental protections in the middle of a global pandemic and economic collapse. The idea that precious funds should bail out the world’s wealthiest corporations, not the people whose lives are at stake, is hard to fathom. This injustice is wrong. This is the time to rethink how we relate to one another and the earth. The religious groups announcing their divestment from fossil fuels today are stepping into the breach at a time when nothing is the same and everything has to change.”
A full list of the 42 institutions divesting from fossil fuels and statements from leaders can be found here.