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Church of England urged to use theology as motivation for fossil fuel divestment



The Church of England will consider whether to completely divest from fossil fuels, after the diocese of Southwark passed a resolution backing such a move.

The issue will be passed onto the General Synod, the legislative body that governs the whole church, but this process could take a couple of years.

A spokesperson for the church told Blue & Green Tomorrow that as it stands, fossil fuels were “not excluded” by its ethical investment criteria, though they are “up for review”.

At the regional synod in Southwark on Wednesday, April Alexander of the church’s investment arm, the Church Commissioners, said the church had reduced its expose to fossil fuels by 62% since 2010.

Click here to read The Guide to Climate Change 2013

This represents a significant shift in its £8 billion of assets, given it has historically held large investments in the likes of oil giants Shell and BP.

Mark Letcher, vice-chair of Christian environmental group Operation Noah, said the divestment appears to have been done on financial grounds, rather than for ethical reasons.

However, he said, “It is Operation Noah’s view that there is a strong ethical and theological argument for complete and rapid divestment from this sector.

Existing reserves of fossil fuels far exceed those which can be burned without the resulting pollution triggering catastrophic changes in the climate system. Yet oil, gas, and coal companies in which churches are invested continue to spend billions of dollars per year on developing new reserves of oil, coal and gas.

There is no evidence to suggest that these companies are seeking to change their position which is why we are calling on the church to divest.”

A major Norwegian pension fund, Storebrand, recently revealed it would be divesting from 19 fossil fuel firms, including coal and tar sands, because these stocks will be “worthless financially” in the future.

Religion tends to square well with environmental protection and ethical investment. Author and environmentalist Bill McKibben, whose group is leading the divestment movement, is a devout Christian; the Religious Society of Friends (the Quakers) are widely credited with setting the ethical investment ball rolling in the 19th century; and many Muslim investors are forced to invest and bank using ethical criteria because of sharia law – Islam’s legal system.

Operation Noah published a document called The Ash Wednesday Declaration in 2012, written by its theology thinktank, which argued that caring for the environment and being concerned about climate change are both fundamental to Christianity, and indeed the Church of England’s core mission.

Letcher added, “At present the church risks leaving itself in a ‘lose-lose’ situation. If oil, gas and coal companies are allowed to develop new reserves of fossil fuels, the church may continue to make a return in the short-term but only at the cost of triggering uncontrolled changes in the climate system, something all denominations have publicly committed to prevent.

However, if governments uphold their commitment to limit warming to 2C then these new reserves can never be realised and their value will fall leaving the church with ‘stranded assets’. This is why we are calling on churches of all denominations to divest from fossil fuels and to actively invest in clean alternatives.”

Operation Noah said it hopes the Southwark resolution could pave the way for some of the other 43 dioceses in England to follow suit in calling for fossil fuel divestment.

Further reading:

Norwegian pension fund divests from ‘financially worthless’ fossil fuel firms

Report says investing in fossil fuels is a ‘very risky decision’

What fossil fuel divestment can learn from apartheid

The UK canary in the carbon mine

The Guide to Climate Change 2013


How Going Green Can Save A Company Money



going green can save company money
Shutterstock Licensed Photot - By GOLFX

What is going green?

Going green means to live life in a way that is environmentally friendly for an entire population. It is the conservation of energy, water, and air. Going green means using products and resources that will not contaminate or pollute the air. It means being educated and well informed about the surroundings, and how to best protect them. It means recycling products that may not be biodegradable. Companies, as well as people, that adhere to going green can help to ensure a safer life for humanity.

The first step in going green

There are actually no step by step instructions for going green. The only requirement needed is making the decision to become environmentally conscious. It takes a caring attitude, and a willingness to make the change. It has been found that companies have improved their profit margins by going green. They have saved money on many of the frivolous things they they thought were a necessity. Besides saving money, companies are operating more efficiently than before going green. Companies have become aware of their ecological responsibility by pursuing the knowledge needed to make decisions that would change lifestyles and help sustain the earth’s natural resources for present and future generations.

Making needed changes within the company

After making the decision to go green, there are several things that can be changed in the workplace. A good place to start would be conserving energy used by electrical appliances. First, turning off the computer will save over the long run. Just letting it sleep still uses energy overnight. Turn off all other appliances like coffee maker, or anything that plugs in. Pull the socket from the outlet to stop unnecessary energy loss. Appliances continue to use electricity although they are switched off, and not unplugged. Get in the habit of turning off the lights whenever you leave a room. Change to fluorescent light bulbs, and lighting throughout the building. Have any leaks sealed on the premises to avoid the escape of heat or air.

Reducing the common paper waste

paper waste

Shutterstock Licensed Photo – By Yury Zap

Modern technologies and state of the art equipment, and tools have almost eliminated the use of paper in the office. Instead of sending out newsletters, brochures, written memos and reminders, you can now do all of these and more by technology while saving on the use of paper. Send out digital documents and emails to communicate with staff and other employees. By using this virtual bookkeeping technique, you will save a bundle on paper. When it is necessary to use paper for printing purposes or other services, choose the already recycled paper. It is smartly labeled and easy to find in any office supply store. It is called the Post Consumer Waste paper, or PCW paper. This will show that your company is dedicated to the preservation of natural resources. By using PCW paper, everyone helps to save the trees which provides and emits many important nutrients into the atmosphere.

Make money by spreading the word

Companies realize that consumers like to buy, or invest in whatever the latest trend may be. They also cater to companies that are doing great things for the quality of life of all people. People want to know that the companies that they cater to are doing their part for the environment and ecology. By going green, you can tell consumers of your experiences with helping them and communities be eco-friendly. This is a sound public relations technique to bring revenue to your brand. Boost the impact that your company makes on the environment. Go green, save and make money while essentially preserving what is normally taken for granted. The benefits of having a green company are enormous for consumers as well as the companies that engage in the process.

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Report: Green, Ethical and Socially Responsible Finance



“The level of influence that ethical considerations have over consumer selection of financial services products and services is minimal, however, this is beginning to change. Younger consumers are more willing to pay extra for products provided by socially responsible companies.” Jessica Morley, Mintel’s Financial Services Analyst.

Consumer awareness of the impact consumerism has on society and the planet is increasing. In addition, the link between doing good and feeling good has never been clearer. Just 19% of people claim to not participate in any socially responsible activities.

As a result, the level of attention that people pay to the green and ethical claims made by products and providers is also increasing, meaning that such considerations play a greater role in the purchasing decision making process.

However, this is less true in the context of financial services, where people are much more concerned about the performance of a product rather than green and ethical factors. This is not to say, however, that they are not interested in the behaviour of financial service providers or in gaining more information about how firms behave responsibly.

This report focuses on why these consumer attitudes towards financial services providers exist and how they are changing. This includes examination of the wider economy and the current structure of the financial services sector.

Mintel’s exclusive consumer research looks at consumer participation in socially responsible activities, trust in the behaviour of financial services companies and attitudes towards green, ethical and socially responsible financial services products and providers. The report also considers consumer attitudes towards the social responsibilities of financial services firms and the green, ethical and socially responsible nature of new entrants.

There are some elements missing from this report, such as conducting socially responsible finance with OTC trading. We will cover these other topics in more detail in the future. You can research about Ameritrade if you want to know more ..

By this report today: call: 0203 416 4502 | email: iainooson[at]

Report contents:

What you need to know
Report definition
The market
Ethical financial services providers: A question of culture
Investment power
Consumers need convincing
The transformative potential of innovation
Consumers can demand change
The consumer
For financial products, performance is more important than principle
Competition from technology companies
Financial services firms perceived to be some of the least socially responsible
Repaying the social debt
Consumer trust is built on evidence
What we think
Creating a more inclusive economy
The facts
The implications
Payments innovation helps fundraising go digital
The facts
The implications
The social debt of the financial crisis
The facts
The implications
Ethical financial services providers: A question of culture
Investment power
Consumers need convincing
The transformative potential of innovation
Consumers can demand change
An ethical economy
An ethical financial sector
Ethical financial services providers
The role of investing
The change potential of pensions
The role of trust
Greater transparency informs decisions
Learning from past mistakes
The role of innovation
Payments innovation: Improving financial inclusion
Competition from new entrants
The power of new money
The role of the consumer
Consumers empowered to make a change
Aligning products with self
For financial products, performance is more important than ethics
Financial services firms perceived to be some of the least socially responsible
Competition from technology companies
Repaying the social debt
Consumer trust is built on evidence
Overall trust levels are high
Payments innovation can boost charitable donations
Consumer engagement in socially responsible activities is high
Healthier finances make it easier to go green
37% unable to identify socially responsible companies
Building societies seen to be more responsible than banks….
….whilst short-term loan companies are at the bottom of the pile
Overall trust levels are high
Tax avoidance remains a major concern
The divestment movement
Nationwide significantly more trusted
Trust levels remain high
For financial products, performance is more important than principle
Socially conscious consumers are more concerned
Strategy reports provide little insight for consumers
Lack of clarity regarding corporate culture causes concern
Consumers want more information
The social debt of the financial crisis
For consumers, financial services firms play larger economic role
Promoting financial responsibility
Consumer trust is built on evidence
The alternative opportunity
The target customer

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