Diocese of Sodor and Man commits to divestment from fossil fuels


On Monday 19 July, the Church of England Diocese of Sodor and Man announced that it has divested from fossil fuel companies and voted to commit to its investments remaining free of holdings in coal, oil and gas in future.

The Diocese of Sodor and Man is one of the most long-standing institutions on the Isle of Man, and one of the ancient Celtic dioceses of the Christian Church in the British Isles. Within the Church of England, its commitment to divestment follows on from similar announcements by the Dioceses of Bristol and Oxford. It becomes the third out of 42 dioceses in the Church of England  to divest.

The decision to divest is part of the Diocese of Sodor and Man’s strategy to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2030, a step that was agreed by Diocesan Synod in March 2020 and by the Church of England General Synod in February 2020.

The Diocese of Sodor and Man made a divestment commitment after its investment managers, CCLA Investment Management, whose CBF funds manage investments on behalf of many Church of England dioceses and local churches, sold its last remaining shares in fossil fuel companies (Shell and Total) for financial reasons. The Diocese of Sodor and Man is one of 20 Church of England dioceses that no longer holds investments in fossil fuels, and there are calls for more dioceses to join them in announcing their divestment ahead of COP26.

‘Care for creation is central to the teaching of the Christian Church, and this commitment takes us on one further step to achieving our aim of net zero carbon emissions by 2030. With the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow in October, it makes this announcement even more poignant,’ commented Rt Revd Peter Eagles, Bishop of Sodor and Man.

Peel Cathedral, Diocese of Sodor and Man. Photo credit: FinnWikiNo

This prophetic step by the Diocese of Sodor and Man shows that change is possible and builds momentum for the Church of England National Investing Bodies to move forward on divestment from the fossil fuel industry. ‘This small step on the back of a bold decision gives me great hope: I’ve waited impatiently for 35 years. These may be uncertain times, but also very exciting times,’ added Dr Henry Uniacke, Diocesan Environmental Advisor.

James Buchanan, Bright Now Campaign Manager for Operation Noah, said: ‘It is wonderful news that the Diocese of Sodor and Man has decided to divest from fossil fuels, especially ahead of the crucial UN climate talks, COP26, later this year. We hope that many more Church of England dioceses will join them in the months ahead in divesting from fossil fuels and investing in the clean technologies of the future.’

Divest your church 

If you would be interested in getting your local church or diocese to make a divestment commitment and join the global divestment announcement on Tuesday 26 October 2021, we would be delighted to hear from you.

Please get in touch with Bokani Tshidzu on bokani.tshidzu@operationnoah.org for further information or to register your interest.

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