Dozens of Catholic institutions divest fossil fuels

The Global Catholic Climate Movement says fossil fuels are no longer included in 40 Catholic institutions’ financial portfolios.

The institutions which have joined a global faith-based environmental movement located on five continents include the Franciscan convent in Assisi, the Belgian bishops’ conference, the Archdiocese of Cape Town, Newman University in the UK and two major financial institutions – one each in Germany and Belgium.

Although the value of the divestment in coal, gas and oil has not been revealed, the number of organisations behind the pledge is nearly four times bigger than it was in May when nine institutions announced a similar divestment.

The Global Climate Movement says it timed its announcement about the new signatories to coincide with the anniversary St. Francis of Assisi’s death (4 October).

St Francis, the patron saint of the environment, inspired Pope Francis’s landmark social encyclical in June 2015, Laudato Si’: On Care for Our Common Home.

In the encyclical, Francis calls for investments in “production and transportation which consume less energy and require fewer raw materials, as well as in methods of construction and renovating buildings which improve their energy efficiency.”

Attempts at promoting a sustainable use of natural resources “are not a waste of money, but rather an investment capable of providing other economic benefits in the medium term,” he says.

“More diversified and innovative forms of production which impact less on the environment can prove very profitable.”

The announcement was welcomed by Christiana Figueres, the former executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

“I hope we’ll see more leaders like these 40 Catholic institutions commit because, while this decision makes smart financial sense, acting collectively to deliver a better future for everybody is also our moral imperative,” she said.


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