As politicians from around the world gathered to look at the international response to the environmental crisis at COP27, Diocesan Synod made a key commitment statement.
Diocesan Environmental Engagement Officer, Cate Williams tells us what happened:
“Cirencester Deanery brought a motion* to make a clear commitment, on ethical, theological and spiritual grounds, not to invest financially in fossil fuels. We have not held investments in fossil fuels for some time but wanted a clear explicit statement about our motivation for this.
“The motion agreed also commits us to sending a question to General Synod, asking for clarity from CCLA (Churches, Charities and Local Authorities), where our finances our held. They have not held investments in fossil fuels for some time, but we want to hear from them that this is a long-term commitment on ethical grounds.
“The debate included some significant statements made from the floor, reminding us rather than seeing this as a one-off achievement, we need to keep the momentum going in other potential positive steps. We were encouraged to think about all our finances, such as everyday banking, as well as larger investments. In addition, we were encouraged to seek ways in which our investments can bring positive benefit in the work of decarbonisation. We want not only to avoid investment in anything destructive but to positively invest in a greener future.”
In 2020, both the national Church and the Diocese of Gloucester made a commitment to be carbon net zero by 2030. Since then, there has been significant work to turn the commitment into a plan.
The national ‘Routemap to net zero’ which covers churches, Cathedrals, schools, vicarages, offices and training colleges was agreed by General Synod in July 2022. Dates milestones have been set to keep us focussed and on track. You can see this Routemap here.
For local churches, the webinar series on sustainable churches is a fabulous resource – the ones that have already happened have been recorded and are available to watch back on YouTube. Our DAC Sustainability Advisor, Matt Fulford, is presenting an upcoming webinar in the series on 14 and 28 November on Energy Saving Quick Wins.
All these things come together as commitments, in God, to people and planet, as we work and pray for the good of all that God has made.
Please pray for the COP27 discussions: this link from Tearfund is a useful prayer guide.
*To approve the motion that this Synod:
- Commit that the Gloucester Diocesan Board Finance will, for ethical, spiritual and theological reasons, not invest in companies whose primary business is fossil fuels extraction and/or sale, recognising that while the primary commitment is rooted in environmental and climate justice ethics, there are also sound financial reasons for this commitment due to climate risk.
- Congratulate CCLA (with whom Gloucester DBF’s investments are held) for their current position of disinvestment from fossil fuel-based businesses.
- Recognise the existing commitment of General Synod to ensure that, by 2023, the National Investing Bodies have divested from all companies not on track to meet the aims of the Paris Agreement and welcomes the increasing amount of impact investment being undertaken.
- Ask General Synod to instruct the Ethical Investment Advisory Group that its guidance to all investing bodies within the Church (after 2025) should be to keep their portfolios free from engaging in further exploration of fossil fuel reserves and to invest where possible in green economy.