Quakers to divest from fossil fuels
9 Oct 2013
First major success for new UK fossil fuel divestment movement. Quakers to ditch investments in BG Group and Statoil.
Quakers in Britain today took steps to divest from companies engaged in extracting fossil fuels. The decision was taken by their Investment Committee, under responsibilities devolved by the Trustees.
Quakers say that investing in companies which are engaged in fossil fuel extraction is incompatible with their commitment made in 2011 to become a sustainable low-carbon community. Since then they have been speaking out to create pressure in the UK for an energy system and economy that does not rely on fossil fuels.
Operation Noah, who together with People & Planet and 350.org are organising the Fossil Free UK tour this autumn, praised the Quakers for being the first Christian denomination to divest from fossil fuel extraction.
Operation Noah’s recent report, Bright Now, says:
“For the sake of humanity’s survival, we cannot afford to invest in fossil fuels any longer.”
The move is backed by overwhelming support from Quakers all round the country who attended Quakers’ Meeting for Sufferings (their representative decision- making body) at the weekend. That meeting heard that Britain Yearly Meeting, as the body of Quakers is formally known, currently has about £21 million invested in the stock market, including in Statoil and BG Group. As at 30 June this year BG Group represents 2.94% of the portfolio by value, while Statoil accounted for 1.23%. Trustees, who oversee this investment, are to review their entire investment policy.
The minute of the meeting recording their wish to disinvest said:
“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.We have expressed our difficulties, especially since we all depend in many ways on fossil fuels, but we need to make positive steps towards the change we want to see.”
Commenting on the Quaker’s decision, People & Planet campaigner, Louise Hazan said:
“We congratulate the Quakers on taking this bold but necessary decision to divest from fossil fuels. It’s an important recognition that institutions such as churches and universities that are committed to tackling the climate crisis cannot continue to profit from their investments in the companies doing the most to wreck the climate. The Quaker’s decision today sets the Fossil Free UK movement well and truly in motion and we expect to see many more institutions following suit within the next few weeks and months”