THE diocese of Oxford has announced that it will begin to
withdraw its investments from oil, gas, and coal companies after
its synod passed a motion calling on the Church of England to do
the same within the next five years.
The diocese owns about £65 million in glebe funds, and some £2.8
million in other trust funds, and these portfolios include some
investments in the oil and gas sector and in companies that mine
The diocesan synod passed a resolution last month urging the
Church of England's national investing bodies to disinvest from
fossil-fuel companies: from coal and tar sands "at the earliest
opportunity"; from oil in three years; and from natural gas in five
The diocese also committed itself to reviewing its own
investments, becoming the first diocese in the Church of England to
do so. The diocesan investment group has met to begin the
The Rector of All Saints', Ascot Heath, the Revd Dr Darrell
Hannah, who is a trustee of the Christian environmental charity
Operation Noah, said: "It was made clear in the debate by the
diocesan officers that the diocese of Oxford could not call on the
Church of England to disinvest and not do the same itself. The
diocese will thus in the coming weeks and months begin the process
of deciding how best to do this."
The diocese's finance officer has warned that the process will
be complex, and that the C of E and the diocese "need to take into
account the complexity of the real world", including the fact that
some companies that produce coal also invest in alternative energy
The vice-chairman of Operation Noah, Mark Letcher, said: "This
resolution demonstrates how seriously local churches and dioceses
are taking the issue of disinvestment.
Following recent commitments from the Rockefeller Brothers Fund,
a national pension fund in Sweden, and the University of Glasgow,
the decision today increases the pressure on the Church of England
- which still has over £60 million invested in fossil-fuel
companies - to disinvest."
The diocese of Oxford joins a growing number of fossil-free
Churches and faith communities around the world, including the
World Council of Churches, the Church of Sweden, Quakers in
Britain, the Uniting Church in Australia, the Presbyterian Church
in New Zealand, and the United Church of Christ, in the United
Three Australian and five New Zealand Anglican dioceses have
also disinvested; and the Anglican Church of Australia has passed a
motion recommending disinvestment to all its churches.