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Swedish church get out of fossil fuels

26 September 2014


Ban Ki-moon (second from right) joins the People's Climate March in New York

Ban Ki-moon (second from right) joins the People's Climate March in New York

THE Church of Sweden has completely disinvested from fossil fuels, after dropping remaining holdings in gas companies. It has assets of $691,292,490 (about £423 million).

Henrik Grape, the officer of sustainable development at the Church of Sweden, said on Tuesday: "If you are serious about the climate as an important issue, you can't work with climate justice and at the same time have investments pushing development in the opposite direction."

Eight hundred institutions and individuals have, to date, pledged to sell some or all of their fossil-fuel holdings, amounting to the withdrawal of $50 billion. They include the heirs to the Rockefeller oil fortune, Rockefeller Brothers Fund, and the World Council of Churches.

On Tuesday, Ellie Roberts, the divestment campaigner for Operation Noah, said that the Church of Sweden's decision "increases the pressure on the Methodist Church and Church of England, both of which retain large holdings in fossil-fuel companies, to join the growing list of fossil-free Churches."

In February, the General Synod voted by an overwhelming majority to call on the Church Commissioners to consider disinvesting entirely from fossil-fuel companies, and to set up a new working group on the environment.

It was announced last week that the Bishop of Salisbury, the Rt Revd Nicholas Holtam, would head this group.

It was announced on Tuesday that the EIAG and the Church of England's three national investing bodies are supporting a new project that will study how climate change will make an impact on the investment landscape. Mercer, a global consulting company, will map how different climate scenarios might affect the market, by 2030 and 2050.

Edward Mason, the head of responsible investment for the Church Commissioners, said: "We are keen both to grow our understanding of the investment implications of climate change and to consider ways in which, as investors, we can help prevent dangerous climate change occurring."

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