Prominent church investors have been invited to a conference today to make them aware of the challenges and barriers to scaling up investments in clean energy and other climate solutions.
The Climate Change Collaboration, Operation Noah and Quaker Peace & Social Witness are joint organisers of the one-day conference “Investing sustainably: Protecting financial assets and supporting the transition to a zero-carbon future”. The event takes place on today (during Quaker Week). It is expected that representatives from several denominations will attend, including the Church of England, the Catholic Church, the Methodist Church, the United Reformed Church, the Baptist Union and the Church of Scotland.
The conference is designed as an opportunity for church investors and ethical investment advisors to learn more about alternative investment options that have a positive impact on the environment. It will demonstrate the opportunities that exist for churches to invest in renewable energy and climate solutions while making financial returns.
The keynote speaker is Bishop Richard Cheetham, Bishop of Kingston and member of the Church of England’s Environmental Working Group. The event will also include talks from experts in sustainable finance at Mercer, Rathbone Greenbank, CCLA and BlackRock as well as case studies from international church investors including the Church of Sweden.
The wider context is the current ratification process for the Paris Agreement, which came out of the 2015 UN conference on climate change. Christiana Figueres, who chaired the climate talks in Paris, has said that investment in renewable energy needs to increase to $1 trillion a year – triple the current level – to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement.
Bishop Richard said:
Climate change is one of the biggest issues facing humanity in the 21st century.
“The church can play a key role in developing sustainable, non-fossil fuel dependent, patterns of living, and the choice of where we invest sends a clear message about our vision for the future.”
James Buchanan, who works on Operation Noah’s Bright Now divestment campaign, said: “As well as divesting from fossil fuels, it is vital that church investors support the transition to a zero-carbon economy by increasing their investments in renewable energy and climate solutions. This conference shows the range of opportunities that exist, and it is time for church investors to grasp these opportunities and demand more from their fund managers.”
This event for national investors will be followed by an event for local church treasurers, finance officers and campaigners, taking place on Saturday 19 November at Friends House in London.