Catholics reflecting on Anglican ethical investment stance

New Zealand’s Catholic Church says it will “reflect” on a decision by Auckland Anglicans to sell out of all fossil fuel investments within two years.

On September 7, at the Anglican Diocese of Auckland Synod, the diocese voted overwhelmingly in favour of a motion calling on the diocese to withdraw its investments from companies whose main business is the extraction and/or production of fossil fuels.

In doing so it became the first institutional body in New Zealand to do so.

A spokeswoman for the Catholic bishops said Catholic Archbishop John Dew had already had an initial meeting with staff on the issue, reports the NZ Herald.

“They plan to … undertake the [necessary] consultation before the conversation on this goes any further,” she said.

Ethical investment adviser, Dr Rodger Spiller, said he was not aware of any other significant New Zealand investor that had sold out of fossil fuel investments on principle, but there was “a strong possibility” that others would follow the Anglican lead.

The Rev. Mathew Newton, of St Paul’s Symonds Street, who introduced the synod motion, stressed in his speech the moral argument for fossil fuel divestment, saying “global climate change … will have its greatest effect on those who have the least access to the world’s resources and who have contributed least to its cause — not least in the Pacific islands where sea level rise already poses a grave threat.”

The move to divest was a question of “moral consistency,” Newton said.

“If we are making efforts to reduce our carbon emissions on the one hand, it doesn’t make sense for us to be financing the fossil fuel industry through our investments on the other.”



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