Green Investment Declaration: Faith groups urged to commit at least five per cent of investments to climate action

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Churches and faith groups across the UK are being urged to invest at least five per cent of their assets in climate solutions within the next five years, as part of a new global campaign initiative launched today.

The Green Investment Declaration, which is backed by campaign groups Operation Noah and the JustMoney Movement, aimed to encourage faith organisations to boost their investment in the emerging net zero economy.

Operation Noah’s campaign director Clare Fussel said the initiative aimed to not only to unlock further investment in support of tackling the climate crisis, but crucially to also encourage values-driven investors to publicly advocate for green investment, which she said would thereby help create “ripples throughout wider Church and society, and encourage others to do likewise”.

Internationally churches manage billions of pounds worth of investments, with faith groups recently described by the UN Environment Programme as the world’s third largest economic power, after governments and businesses, according to Operation Noah.

In the UK alone, the 67 members of the Church Investment Group – which represents institutional investors from many mainstream church denominations and church-related charities, largely from Britain and Ireland – boast combined assets of more than £26bn.

As such, the campaign groups behind the Green Investment Declaration argue rallying faith groups to boost their investments in climate solutions could be key to ensuring a rapid phase out of fossil fuels by shifting towards cheaper and cleaner alternatives across transport, energy generation and industry.

“We want to see a larger, more diverse movement of Christians acting to ensure money is used for good, as part of a wider movement of all faiths and none,” said Sarah Edwards, executive director of JustMoney Movement.

“Collectively, our investment decisions can be a powerful part of our climate action. We hope that a wide range of church investors – from denominations through to local congregations – will embark on a journey of investing for impact through the Green Investment Declaration, as together we pray and act for a fairer, greener world.”

Some UK churches and dioceses – almost all of which have now divested from fossil fuels – are already investing in climate solutions, the campaign groups point out. For example, the Quakers in Britain have dedicated more than 18 per cent of their investment portfolio to climate solutions, including wind, solar, energy efficiency and public transport, which they believe has helped increase the value of its investment portfolio.

Additionally, the Diocese of Truro in the Church of England estimates that 10 per cent of its investment portfolio is now in renewables.

Susie Weldon, director of communications at FaithInvest – an international non-profit network of religious groups and faith-based institutional investors – also welcomed today’s announcement.

“As the leading global non-profit working to support faith groups to invest in line with their values, we urge all faith groups to take a close look and consider whether this initiative accords with their own aims when it comes to aligning their finances and investments with their beliefs and values,” she said.

You can now sign up to attend the fifth annual Net Zero Festival, which will be hosted by BusinessGreen on October 22-23 at the Business Design Centre in London.