16

Nov

2021

Diocese of Durham Synod unanimously votes for fossil fuel divestment commitment

 

The Diocese of Durham has voted unanimously in support of divestment from fossil fuel companies and ruled out future fossil fuel investments on Saturday 13 November.

Durham Diocesan Synod voted in favour of a motion supporting the policy of divestment from fossil fuel companies and resolving not to invest in companies with significant revenues arising from fossil fuels in future. The Diocese of Durham’s investment managers, CCLA, sold its last remaining shares in fossil fuel companies for financial reasons last year.

The Diocese of Durham also acknowledged the climate emergency and the commitment of the Church of England’s General Synod to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2030.

Durham’s Diocesan Synod agreed to develop its response to the climate emergency through its ‘Care for God’s Creation’ priority and to support its investment managers in taking further steps towards a 2030 net zero target.

The Diocese of Durham becomes the sixth Church of England diocese to make a commitment to divest from fossil fuel companies, after the Dioceses of Oxford, Bristol, Sodor & Man, Truro and Norwich have also made divestment commitments in recent months.

Its decision to divest carried extra significance as it took place on the final day of the UN climate talks, COP26.

Last month, 72 faith institutions, including 37 from the UK, joined the largest-ever divestment announcement by religious organisations.

James Morgan, Durham’s Diocesan Secretary, said: ‘As we have heard from COP26, we are facing a climate emergency and it’s up to all of us to do what we can to protect this planet for future generations. Where we invest funds as a Diocese, we will be making sure they are not invested in companies profiting significantly from the extraction of fossil fuels, whether it be oil, gas or coal.’

The motion debated at Durham’s Diocesan Synod was developed by the Diocese’s Environmental Champions in conjunction with St Nic’s Church, Durham. Revd Arun Arora, Vicar at St Nic’s Durham, said: ‘As talks conclude at COP26, the message to think globally and act locally has never been more relevant. The adoption of this motion is a small step in the wider commitment to act for climate justice in our churches and communities.’

James Buchanan, Bright Now Campaign Manager for Operation Noah, said: ‘It is wonderful news that the Diocese of Durham has decided to divest from fossil fuel companies. This is a significant step on the final day of COP26, as voices from marginalised communities call for climate justice and no new fossil fuel exploration and extraction. We thank St Nic’s Durham and all involved for their leadership. We hope this decision will inspire many other Church of England dioceses to divest from fossil fuels and invest in climate solutions.’

The motion passed by Durham Diocesan Synod reads as follows:

  • note the commitment of the Church of England’s General Synod to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2030;
  • acknowledge the existence of a climate emergency;
  • resolve to develop its response to this emergency through its ‘Care for God’s Creation’ priority;
  • resolve to support its investment managers in taking further steps towards net zero 2030, commending their policy of divestment from fossil fuel companies; and
  • resolve not to invest in companies with significant revenues arising from fossil fuels in future.

Divest your church

If you would be interested in getting your local church or diocese to make a divestment commitment, 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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