QUAKERS in the UK are set to become one of the first faith
groups in the country to disinvest from fossil-fuel-extraction
At their Britain Yearly Meeting in London last Saturday, they
agreed that supporting such businesses is incompatible with their
commitment to becoming a low-carbon community. The gathering heard
that they currently had about £21 million invested in the stock
market, including holdings in Statoil and BG Group.
The BG Group holding represents 2.94 per cent of the Quakers'
portfolio by value, while Statoil accounts for 1.23 per cent. The
final decision to disinvest rests with the portfolio's trustees,
who meet next Friday.
The Meeting passed a minute that recorded their "encouragement"
to the trustees: "We feel strongly that we should disinvest, and
hope Trustees will take this into account in their decision-making.
We want to invest in renewable energy and energy-saving schemes.
Action we will take as individuals, as meetings, and as Britain
Yearly Meeting Trustees, should aim to minimise damage and
strengthen our advocacy position."
The Quakers decided to become a low-carbon community in 2011,
and have been pressing for an energy system and economy that does
not rely on fossil fuels.
Their decision comes weeks after the climate-change campaigning
group Operation Noah launched Bright Now, a campaign to persuade
Church and Christian communities in the UK to disinvest from
fossil-fuel companies (News, 27
Isabel Carter, who chairs Operation Noah, said: "This news is a
huge encouragement to us, coming so soon after our launch of the
Bright Now campaign. We wish to congratulate the Quakers on taking
leadership on this vital issue. We urge other Churches in the UK to
think seriously about following this example."