The Church of Ireland is to complete its divestment from companies that extract fossil fuels by the end of this year, therefore meeting its target date of 2022.
The Church’s annual General Synod met online from September 30 to October 2, and this will fulfil a commitment made in resolution at General Synod in 2018, to the effect that companies where more than 10 per cent of turnover is derived from fossil fuel extraction would – by 2022 – be excluded from investments made by the Representative Church Body (RCB).
Through its Climate Change Policy, the RCB seeks to mitigate and lower the climate change impact within its investment portfolios and has taken several steps in this regard over the past number of years, including collaborative engagement, investments in wind and solar energy and forestry, the implementation of restrictions for investments in coal mining and tar sands, and several disposals and divestments.
The policy relates to direct investments and exposure via acquisition and/or takeovers is reviewed on a case-by-case basis by the RCB’s Investment Committee, which will continue to monitor and review companies that appear not to be aligned with the long-term transition to a low-carbon economy and engage and/or divest as considered appropriate.
The RCB is also a member of the Church Investors Group (CIG) and the Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change (IIGCC), which provide investors with a collaborative platform for engagement with public policy-makers and the exchange of expertise on climate change issues. It is also a founding signatory and supporter of the Climate Action 100+ initiative which engages with the world’s largest corporate greenhouse gas emitters with a view to curbing emissions, strengthening climate disclosures, and improving climate governance.