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Catholic Communities Divest Fossil Fuels

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Catholic organisations have joined forces and announced their divestment of fossil fuels today. Four Catholic organisations have collaborated and will sell their investments in coal, oil, and gas companies – something that’s never been seen before. The announcement comes on the first anniversary of Pope Francis’ encyclical on ecology, Laudato Si.

The Marist Sisters Australia, Presentation Congregation Queensland, Presentation Sisters Wagga Wagga, and The Passionists – Holy Spirit Province Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Zealand and Vietnam, are the congregations that have decided to abandon fossil fuels and embrace renewable energy. More Catholic organisations are anticipated to announce a pledge to begin a divestment process in October, in celebration of the Feast of St Francis.

In committing to divest, these organisations join about 530 institutions globally, representing over $3.4 trillion in funds under management. They include the World Council of Churches, the Norwegian Sovereign Wealth Fund, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, Stanford and Oxford Universities, the Australian Capital Territory, the City of Newcastle and the Royal Australian College of Physicians.

Throughout the world, other Catholic institutions including Georgetown University, University of Dayton, Trocaire, Franciscan Sisters of Mary and more already committed to divest. The Global Catholic Climate Movement just announced a “Catholic Divest-Reinvest Online Hub” to house Divest-Reinvest news and resources for the Catholic community.

In the words of Pope Francis’ encyclical: “We know that technology based on the use of highly polluting fossil fuels – especially coal, but also oil and, to a lesser degree, gas – has to be progressively replaced without delay.”

This ask to move away from fossil fuels was emphatically stressed by a 2015 statement of Catholic Bishops from all continents, whom asked to “put an end to the fossil fuel era… and provide affordable, reliable and safe renewable energy access for all.”

Across the world, Catholic parishes and communities celebrate the encyclical’s anniversary with the Laudato Si Week, which includes a series of online conferences and local events to deepen the discussion of their role in caring for the planet and tackling climate change.

“Laudato Si calls not only on Catholics, but on the ability of all humanity to work together to protect our common home. These congregations now join hundreds of institutions worldwide who have divested from fossil fuels, in response to the urgent moral call to stop funding an industry that is irresponsibly driving our planet to dangerous warming levels. Climate change is already taking a toll on humanity, harming those who are more vulnerable first,” said Yossi Cadan, Global Senior Divestment Campaigner at 350.org.

“These congregations mark the beginning of a new momentum for the Catholic Church. Pope Francis’ encyclical highlights that politics and business have been slow to react in a way commensurate with the urgency of the challenges facing our world. Through divestment from fossil fuels and reinvestment in clean energy, Catholic institutions are starting to use their financial resources to live Laudato Si,” said Tomás Insua, Founding Coordinator of the Global Catholic Climate Movement.

“Marist Sisters in Australia are working towards divesting from fossil fuels. Dependence on fossil fuels is contributing to adverse climate change which affects everyone but especially the poor and vulnerable. In his encyclical, Laudato Si, Pope Francis calls on us to reduce carbon emissions and develop sources of renewal energy. Divesting of fossil fuels is one way that we can be stewards of God’s gift of creation so that life in all its forms can be sustained now and into the future.” said Sr Catherine Lacey SM, Congregation Leader, Marist Sisters, Australia.

“We recognise our need to engage in respectful and transformative relationships with the whole community of life. For many years Queensland Presentation Sisters have excluded any investment in our portfolio held with companies primarily associated with fossil fuels, uranium mining and environmental degradation. This is a key part of the way we engage in God’s mission, especially at a time when the challenge to address global warming is so urgent,” said Sister Marlette Black, Congregational Leader, Presentation Congregation Queensland.

“We made the decision to align our investments with projects that reflect our values and understanding of the importance of caring for creation. The decisions are made after much careful consideration and in the knowledge that our decision won’t change things overnight – this is a long term investment in the earth’s future,” said Anne Lane, Leader of the Presentation Sisters Wagga Wagga.

“For some years now our Passionist Congregation has been aware of the need for our communities and ministries to be far more ecologically responsible. Pope Francis, in his Laudato Si, crystallised for us the level of responsibility we need to take as a Congregation, the urgency for action ever more apparent.  So we Trustees of the Passionists took the decision to begin diverting our investments from fossil fuel extractive industries and into renewable energy. We believe the Gospel asks no less of us,” said Father Thomas McDonough CP, Provincial of The Passionists – Holy Spirit Province Australia, NZ, PNG & Vietnam.

Energy

7 Benefits You Should Consider Giving Your Energy Employees

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As an energy startup, you’re always looking to offer the most competitive packages to entice top-tier talent. This can be tough, especially when trying to put something together that’s both affordable but also has perks that employees are after.

After all, this is an incredibly competitive field and one that’s constantly doing what it can to stay ahead. However, that’s why I’m bringing you a few helpful benefits that could be what bolsters you ahead of your competition. Check them out below:

Financial Advising

One benefit commonly overlooked by companies is offering your employees financial advising services, which could help them tremendously in planning for their long-term goals with your firm. This includes anything from budgeting and savings plans to recommendations for credit repair services and investments. Try to take a look at if your energy company could bring on an extra person or two specifically for this role, as it will pay off tremendously regarding retention and employee happiness.

Life Insurance

While often included in a lot of health benefits packages, offering your employees life insurance could be an excellent addition to your current perks. Although seldom used, life insurance is a small sign that shows you care about the life of their family beyond just office hours. Additionally, at such a low cost, this is a pretty simple aspect to add to your packages. Try contacting some brokers or insurance agents to see if you can find a policy that’s right for your firm.

Dedicated Time To Enjoy Their Hobbies

Although something seen more often in startups in Silicon Valley, having dedicated office time for employees to enjoy their passions is something that has shown great results. Whether it be learning the piano or taking on building a video game, having your team spend some time on the things they truly enjoy can translate to increased productivity. Why? Because giving them the ability to better themselves, they’ll in turn bring that to their work as well.

The Ability To Work Remotely

It’s no secret that a lot of employers despise the idea of letting their employees work remotely. However, it’s actually proven to hold some amazing benefits. According to Global Workplace Analytics, 95% of employers that allow their employees to telework reported an increased rate of retention, saving on both turnover and sick days. Depending on the needs of each individual role, this can be a strategy to implement either whenever your team wants or on assigned days. Either way, this is one perk almost everyone will love.

Health Insurance

Even though it’s mandated for companies with over 50 employees, offering health insurance regardless is arguably a benefit well received across the board. In fact, as noted in research compiled by KFF, 28.6% of employers with less than 50 people still offered health care. Why is that the case? Because it shows you care about their well-being, and know that a healthy employee is one that doesn’t have to worry about astronomical medical bills.

Unlimited Time Off

This is a perk that almost no employer offers but should be regarded as something to consider. According to The Washington Post, only 1-2% of companies offer unlimited vacation, which it’s easy to see why. A true “unlimited vacation” program could be a firm’s worse nightmare, with employees skipping out every other week to enjoy themselves. However, with the right model in place that rewards hard work with days off, your employees will absolutely adore this policy.

A Full Pantry

Finally, having a pantry full of food can be one perk that’s not only relatively inexpensive but also adds to the value of the workplace. As noted by USA Today, when surveying employees who had snacks versus those who didn’t, 67% of those who did reported they were “very happy” with their work life. You’d be surprised at how much of a difference this could make, especially when considering the price point. Consider adding a kitchen to your office if you haven’t already, and always keep the snacks and drinks everyone wants fully stocked. Doing so will increase morale tremendously.

Final Thoughts

Compiling a great package for your energy company is going to take some time in looking at what you can afford versus what’s the most you can offer. While it might mean cutting back in other areas, having a workforce that feels like you genuinely want to take care of them can take you far. And with so many different benefits to include in your energy company’s package, which one is your favorite? Comment with your answers below!

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Top 5 Renewable Energy Stocks to Watch

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Do you feel morally obligated to put your money where your mouth is? I totally get it. We all want to make the world a better place, and I want to help you put your investments to work for you and the planet we call home – we only get one.

Questor Technology – CVE:QST

Questor Technology is one of the most promising penny stocks to follow under $5. It turns out that investing in renewable energy stocks doesn’t have to be expensive. In fact, you can get in on the ground floor by investing in penny stocks. These are companies that are just starting to make an impact. If they are successful in the long-run, you win BIG. If they fail, you’re only out a couple pennies. Small risk and big potential reward.

Questor Technology is exciting because they are solving one of the biggest barriers to a greener planet – huge waste and pollution from the oil and gas industry. When they first launched they enjoyed a couple of record years. But as the economy took a hit, so did the oil and gas sector.

I love these guys because they didn’t call it quits. Instead of hanging up the towel, they retooled and relaunched. Now, instead of selling clean energy tech to large oil and gas firms, they rent the tech out. This provides a stable, ongoing revenue. And, if the economy takes another dip, they can quickly scale operations back.

I’m expecting a major upswing. If you have a couple of extra pennies in your portfolio, chuck ‘em at these guys.

NRG Yield – NYSE:NYLD

If you’re willing to dance with the devil, NRG Yield is an exciting company to watch. They invest and offer all forms of energy – from renewable to traditional. I’m really encouraged by their massive investment in renewable energy.

In recent years, making energy more environmentally sustainable has become a focus for a company that used to be one of the bad guys. I think we should encourage companies to stop killing our planet. These guys are on a warpath on behalf of green energy – and so what if they showed up a little late to the party. Don’t we want to reward reform?

Oh, and speaking of green, they’ve had a phenomenal year for investors. I definitely recommend adding them to your portfolio.

Brookfield Asset Management – NYSE:BAM

This is an asset management firm that has gone big on renewable energy. Part of their genius is that they stayed on the sidelines while renewable firms launched and fought over access to technology and resources. While they watched the good guys duke it out, they swooped in and picked up green energy firms that stumbled.

This means that their investors are able to invest in green energy at a HUGE discount. Brookfield Asset Management has more than 100 years of experience making strong investment plays. I love that they allow investors to access green technology without paying the hype premium.

Pattern Energy Group – NASDAQ:PEGI

Based in San Francisco, Pattern Energy Group is a pure green energy play. They’ve spent that past few decades building, expanding and innovating with more than 20 renewable energy facilities. If you’re a bleeding heart with a passion for green energy, this is as good as it gets!

You can purchase stock in their company on two different exchanges – the NASDAQ and Toronto Stock Exchange. This allows investors both north and south of the border to avoid international transaction fees. Savvy investors can compare both markets to find the best bang for the green dollar.

Carnegie Clean Energy – ASX:CCE

I saved the best for last with this stock. Carnegie Clean Energy harnesses the kinetic motion of ocean waves to generate energy. Their tech has been proven by the Australian defense sector – helping to power a naval base at Garden Island.

They also have dipped into other forms of renewable energy, so they have a bright future in a variety of markets. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a buyout shortly based on the proprietary, proven technology that this firm owns the rights to.

In conclusion, it is totally possible to be green-conscious while making some green for your investment portfolio. Some companies are more committed than others, but I’m not afraid of rewarding traditional energy companies if they’re making a solid effort to diversify and make the world a greener place.

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