The Church of England and Methodist Church in Britain have both announced policies for disinvestment in companies linked to fossil fuels.
The Church of England is to divest £12 million from thermal coal and tar sands. The Church Commissioners, Church of England Pensions Board and the Central Board of Finance will no longer make any direct investments in any company where more than 10 per cent of its revenues are derived from the extraction of thermal coal or the production of oil from tar sands
This coincides with the adoption of a new climate change policy recommended by the Church’s Ethical Investment Advisory Group (EIAG) that sets out how the church’s three national investing bodies will support the transition to a low carbon economy.
The latest policy from the Methodist Church in Britain sets out how the Central Finance Board (CFB) will assess the exposure of companies to different types of fuel when managing its investment portfolios. The policy states that the CFB will ‘evaluate companies based on the quality and level of disclosure of their emissions and emissions intensity, and the implications of their business models and investment plans for future emissions reductions.’ Coal is recognised as the most carbon intensive fuel, but the extraction of oil from tar sands is also highlighted because it has a larger carbon footprint than conventional oil production. Companies with investment plans that imply a low probability that emission reduction targets will be met, or which have significant exposure to coal or oil from tar sands, ‘would be inconsistent with the positions and actions of the Methodist Church and may lead to exclusion’ from investment portfolios.