Methodist Church uses investments to resist climate change
The Methodist Church’s investment arm has outlined how its investments reflect Methodist teaching on the environment and take forward the fight against climate change. It aims to ‘create and manage portfolios with a carbon footprint that is relatively low and measurably declining.’
‘The new policy explains how we will encourage companies to limit and reduce greenhouse gas emissions,’ said Bill Seddon, Chief Executive of the Central Finance Board of the Methodist Church. ‘We will also look for better disclosure of emissions, including those produced from a company’s supply chains.’
The policy builds on the CFB’s work on climate change over many years. It has long been a signatory of the Climate Disclosure Project, is a founder member of the Institutional Investor Group on Climate Change and works with other churches through the Church Investors Group. It regularly asks companies to disclose greenhouse gas emissions. ‘We are now looking for action to accelerate the reduction of those emissions,’ said Mr Seddon.
The new policy helps to integrate church investing with church teaching, most recently expressed in a report entitled ‘Hope in God’s future’.
Steve Hucklesby, Methodist Church Policy Adviser, welcomed the CFB’s approach: ‘We are delighted that the CFB has adopted this policy. Climate change threatens to cause irreversible damage to the planet’s eco-system causing suffering to millions of people over the coming decades. It is vital that governments commit to massively reducing greenhouse gas emissions at the Copenhagen Summit, but we should not just leave it to them. We can all play a part and companies also have a responsibility to act. With this policy, the church will also be making its voice heard in boardrooms.’
Tackling climate change issues through an investment policy will not always be straightforward. ‘We know we will not always get it right,’ said Mr Seddon, ‘but the Methodist Church will always seek to act as a responsible investor.’
Of course as admitted CFB will not always get it right. Of course, when it comes to the world picture this is but a drop in the ocean. However, it does represent a commitment to working to make investment decisions that are in line with church teaching. And as such it provides an example to other churches as well as to pension funds etc.