Church of England disinvests £12 mn in fossil fuel companies

The Church of England has cut its investments in fossil fuel companies as part of its newly-adopted climate change policy.

The Church of England Commissioners, who manage over £8 billion of investments, said that it has disinvested £12 million from thermal coal and tar sands projetcs.

The Church of England will not make any direct investments in any company where more than 10 per cent of its revenues are derived from the extraction of thermal coal or the production of oil from tar sands.

The Rev Canon Professor Richard Burridge, deputy chair of the Church's Ethical Investment Advisory Group (EIAG), said, "Climate change is already a reality. From an ethical perspective the focus of the investing bodies must be on assisting the transition to a low carbon economy.''

''The Church has a moral responsibility to speak and act on both environmental stewardship and justice for the world's poor who are most vulnerable to climate change. This responsibility encompasses not only the Church's own work to reduce our own carbon footprint, but also how the Church's money is invested and how we engage with companies on this vital issue," he added.

The Church of England will talk to companies that contribute to global c such as fossil fuel producers, electricity generation utilities, large energy users and producers of energy-intensive products in which it hold shares and set a new benchmark for how companies interact with and make disclosures to investors on climate issues.

This is not the first time that the Church of England is taking a tough stance on ethical issues. In 2010, it sold all its shares worth £3.8 million in Vedanta Resources Plc over concerns on the British mining company's human rights record in Orissa. (See: Church of England divests Vedanta investments on human rights concerns)