Church sets 2050 net zero target for companies at the World Economic Forum
On the same day that Prince Charles called for a "paradigm shift" in the way the world deals with climate change, outlining an initiative to encourage 'rapid' decarbonisation and a shift towards sustainable markets, the Church's three National Investing Bodies (NIB's) announced their commitment to transition their investment portfolio to net zero emissions by 2050.
Andrew Brown, Chief executive of the Church Commissioners, (who are liable for the payment of pensions to retired clergy whose pensions were accrued before 1998). said "The 2020s are the decade in which we need to make decisive progress, both halting the growth in global greenhouse gas emissions and setting the world on course to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement."
The two other investment bodies that make up the NIBs are the Church of England Pensions Board (responsible for pensions after 1998) and CBF Church of England Funds. The CEO of the Pensions Board, John Ball, said "Our beneficiaries' long-term interests are best served by a world that is not impacted by the extremes of climate change and as such we are already aligning our fund to the Paris goals." Peter Hugh Smith, chief executive of the CCLA, on behalf of the CBF Church of England Funds, said: "As Christian investors, our unit holders have more than a fiduciary duty to accelerate the transition to a low-carbon economy and expect their money to be managed in a way that is at the forefront of best practice. We are pleased to support the UN Net Zero Asset Owner Alliance and, in this important year for climate action, call upon all investors to stand up and push for the change that we need to see."
Earlier in the week at the UK-Africa Investment Summit in London, attended by the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, Christian development charities welcomed the announcement that the UK will formally end financial support for coal mining and power plants overseas. But they warned that if it wants to lead on climate change, it must do the same for oil and gas.
Meanwhile, on the same day, in a message addressed to Klaus Schwab, executive chairman of the World Economic Forum, Pope Francis stressed the duty of governments and businesses to place the good of the human person above power or profit.
"The overriding consideration, never to be forgotten, is that we are all members of the one human family," he said in his January 21 message. "Integral human development only flourishes," he argued, "when all members of the human family are included in, and contribute to, pursuing the common good."
He stressed that "all too often materialistic or utilitarian visions, sometimes hidden, sometimes celebrated, lead to practices and structures motivated largely, or even solely, by self-interest."
"As a result, it is necessary to move beyond short-term technological or economic approaches and to give full consideration to the ethical dimension in seeking resolutions to present problems or proposing initiatives for the future."
On 6th Jan 2020 (Epiphany) Operation Noah's 'Bright Now' campaign reported that that 20 Christian organisations in the UK, including churches, dioceses, Synods and religious orders, had pledged their divestment from fossil fuels as part of their Epiphany Declaration for Fossil Free Churches. For more information.
Churches and Christian organisations of all denominations are invited to join the next global joint divestment announcement for faith institutions, organised by Operation Noah, GreenFaith, the Global Catholic Climate Movement and Green Anglicans. The announcement will coincide with the Economy of Francesco conference taking place in Assisi from 26-28 March 2020.