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Pope Francis urged to support fossil fuel divestment campaign

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Religious groups have called on Pope Francis to give his support to the fossil fuel divestment campaign, which calls on investors to ditch their holdings in oil and gas companies because of the impact of their emissions on the climate.

In a letter to the leader of the Catholic church published in the Guardian, multi-faith groups from Australia and North America say humanity has “clearly failed in the divine instruction to be ‘caretakers of God’s world’”. 

The fossil fuel divestment movement has called on investors to divest their shares in companies that extract or burn fossil fuels. Supporters of the campaign say this is necessary partly because of their massive environmental impact. 

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) new report on the mitigation of climate change said that carbon-intensive energy production was the biggest contributor to current warming trends.

The report called for a trillion-dollar shift in investment away from fossil fuels to renewable energy, warning that without mitigation temperatures could rise by as much as 3.7C to 4.8C from pre-industrial times by 2100.

It is because of this that the religious groups – including the Australian Religious Response to Climate Change and GreenFaith – have urged the pope to use his influence to spread the divestment message.

“We urge you, as a person held in high esteem by many millions around the world, to speak clearly about the place of divestment from fossil fuels as one significant means to avert the worst of climate disruption”, the letter says.

It continues, “The compelling conclusion is that it is immoral to continue burning fossil fuels at an ever increasing rate. If this is immoral, then it must also be immoral to profit from making this possible.”

“We request that you advocate that religious and civil organisations undertake to remove their investments from fossil fuels, as well as banks and funds who fund and profit from the industry.”

This, the authors suggest, would help stigmatise the fossil fuel industry – a point that was suggested by the University of Oxford’s Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment in a study last year. 

The letter notes, “It has been commented that the divestment movement has already begun to do this.”

Many institutions, including international universities and churches, have recently considered the case for avoiding exposure to fossil fuel stocks.  

Chief among their concerns, however, is not just the moral case but the financial case. 

Divestment campaigners warn that big investments in fossil fuels risk creating a “carbon bubble as carbon reduction targets and regulations become more common around the world. 

There is a danger for investors that fossil fuel companies vast underground reserves will become devalued ‘stranded assets’, as according to research, the majority of reserves will have to stay in the ground to prevent runaway global warming. 

The letter references this, but adds, We think it’s wrong to represent divestment as an approach that does not involve sacrifice and risk.

“Indeed, it is the fact that divestment may require some sacrifice that gives it moral significance, though the real risk is to continue as usual.

It concludes, “To move investments away from fossil fuels is a matter of integrity. 

Last week, in an article also written for the Guardian, eminent bishop and Nobel peace prize winner Desmond Tutu urged businesses to cut ties with the fossil fuels industry, in a boycott similar to that forced upon South African companies during apartheid.

During the anti-apartheid struggle in South Africa, using boycotts, divestment and sanctions, and supported by our friends overseas, we were not only able to apply economic pressure on the unjust state, but also serious moral pressure”, he said. 

We cannot necessarily bankrupt the fossil fuel industry. But we can take steps to reduce its political clout, and hold those who rake in the profits accountable for cleaning up the mess.

Photo: Gabriel Andrés Trujillo Escobedo via flickr

Further reading:

IPCC report proves fossil fuel investors are ‘wrecking our future’

Desmond Tutu: divest from fossil fuels firms in ‘apartheid-style’ boycott

Netherlands to end funding for overseas coal plants in boost for fossil fuel divestment campaign

Fossil fuel industry can be ‘part of solution’ to climate change, says UN climate chief

Investors warn of ‘carbon bubble’ as Shell predicts climate regulation will hit profits

Environment

These 5 Green Office Mistakes Are Costing You Money

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eco-friendly green offices
Shutterstock Licensed Photo - By Stokkete | https://www.shutterstock.com/g/cyano

The sudden interest in green business is very encouraging. According to recent reports, 42% of all companies have rated sustainability as an important element of their business. Unfortunately, the focus on sustainability will only last if companies can find ways to use it to boost their ROI.

Many businesses get so caught up in being socially conscious that they hope the financial aspect of it takes care of itself. The good news is that there are plenty of ways to go green and boost your net income at the same time.

Here are some important mistakes that you will want to avoid.

Only implementing sustainability on micro-scale

The biggest reason that brands are going green is to improve their optics with their customers. Too many businesses are making very minor changes, such as processing paperwork online and calling themselves green.

Customers have become wary of these types of companies. If you want to earn their business, you are going to need to go all the way. Bring in a green business consultant and make every feasible change to demonstrate that you are a green organization from top to bottom.

Not prioritizing investments by long-term ROI

It isn’t realistic to build an entirely green organization overnight. You will need to allocate your capital wisely.

Before investing in any green assets or services, you should always conduct a long-term cost benefit analysis. The initial investment for some green services may be over $20,000. If they don’t shave your cost by at least $3,000 a year, they probably aren’t worth the investment.

Determine which green investments will have the best pay off over the next 10 years. Make these investments before anything else. Then compare your options within each of those categories.

Implementing green changes without a plan

Effective, long-term planning is the key to business success. This principle needs to be applied to green organizations as well.

Before implementing a green strategy, you must answer the following questions:

  • How will I communicate my green business philosophy to my customers?
  • How will running a green business affect my revenue stream?
  • How will adopting green business strategies change my monthly expenses? Will they increase or decrease them?
  • How will my company finance green upgrades and other investments?

The biggest mistake that too many green businesses make is being overly optimistic with these forecasts. Take the time to collect objective data and make your decisions accordingly. This will help you run a much more profitable green business.

Not considering the benefits of green printing

Too many companies believe that going paperless is the only way to run a green organization. Unfortunately, going 100% paperless it’s not feasible for most companies.

Rather than aim for an unrealistic goal, consider the option of using a more environmentally friendly printer. It won’t be perfect, but it will be better than the alternative.

According to experts from Doranix, environmental printers have several benefits:

  • They can process paper that has been completely recycled.
  • They consume less energy than traditional printers.
  • They use ink that is more environmentally friendly.

You want to take a look at different green printers and compare them. You’ll find that some will meet your needs as a green business.

Poorly communicating your green business strategy to customers

Brand positioning doesn’t happen on its own. If you want to run a successful green business, you must communicate your message to customers as clearly as possible. You must also avoid the appearance that you are patronizing them.

The best approach is to be clear when you were first making the change. I’ll make an announcement about your company‘s commitment to sustainability.

You also want to reinforce this message overtime by using green labels on all of your products. You don’t have to be blatant with your messaging at this stage. Simply provide a small, daily reminder on your products and invoices.

Finally, it is a good idea to participate in green business seminars and other events. If your community has a local Green Chamber of Commerce, you should consider joining as well.

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Energy

Responsible Energy Investments Could Solve Retirement Funding Crisis

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Energy Investments
Shutterstock / By Sergey Nivens | https://www.shutterstock.com/g/nivens

Retiring baby-boomers are facing a retirement cliff, at the same time as mother nature unleashes her fury with devastating storms tied to the impact of global warming. There could be a unique solution to the challenges associated with climate change – investments in clean energy from retirement funds.

Financial savings play a very important role in everyone’s life and one must start planning for it as soon as possible. It’s shocking how quickly seniors can burn through their nest egg – leaving many wondering, “How long your retirement savings will last?

Let’s take a closer look at how seniors can take baby steps on the path to retiring with dignity, while helping to clean up our environment.

Tip #1: Focus & Determination

Like in other work, it is very important to focus and be determined. If retirement is around the corner, then make sure to start putting some money away for retirement. No one can ever achieve anything without dedication and focus – whether it’s saving the planet, or saving for retirement.

Tip #2: Minimize Spending

One of the most important things that you need to do is to minimize your expenditures. Reducing consumption is good for the planet too!

Tip #3: Visualize Your Goal

You can achieve more if you have a clearly defined goal in life. This about how your money can be used to better the planet – imagine cleaner air, water and a healthier environment to leave to your grandchildren.

Investing in Clean Energy

One of the hottest and most popular industries for investment today is the energy market – the trading of energy commodities. Clean energy commodities are traded alongside dirty energy supplies. You might be surprised to learn that clean energy is becoming much more competitive.

With green biz becoming more popular, it is quickly becoming a powerful tool for diversified retirement investing.

The Future of Green Biz

As far as the future is concerned, energy businesses are going to continue getting bigger and better. There are many leading energy companies in the market that already have very high stock prices, yet people are continuing to investing in them.

Green initiatives are impacting every industry. Go Green campaigns are a PR staple of every modern brand. For the energy-sector in the US, solar energy investments are considered to be the most accessible form of clean energy investment. Though investing in any energy business comes with some risks, the demand for energy isn’t going anywhere.

In conclusion, if you want to start saving for your retirement, then clean energy stocks and commodity trading are some of the best options for wallets and the planet. Investing in clean energy products, like solar power, is a more long-term investment. It’s quite stable and comes with a significant profit margin. And it’s amazing for the planet!

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