World Council of Churches advises its members to refrain from fossil fuel investments

Climate change is a concept that over the past few years has become an international concern and now seems to have gained popularity amongst church representatives. Last week, the World Council of Churches, officially responsible for more than 550 million Christians in over 110 countries, asked its members to take a more socially responsible approach when investing money, requesting its associates to especially refrain from financially supporting companies, which by burning fossil fuels contribute to an increase in the global CO2 emissions.1 This request, besides its good intentions, can be seen as a recommendation instead of a generally binding guideline, considering that in the end each member can decide for itself whether or not it wants to divest from fossil fuels.

The Finance Policy Committee of the World Council of Churches has just published a report in which it states that fossil fuels will from now on be added to the list of unethical investments.2 This exact same blacklist already includes investment areas such as the weapons, alcohol and contraceptive industries. Scandals, such as the discovery of the controversial investment made by the Catholic Pax Bank in a contraceptive manufacturer in 2009, led to the World Council of Churches and its members trying to make an effort to distance themselves from any unethical investments. What seems to theoretically have been a step into the right direction still lacks the practical implementation without which the attempt to seek environmental sustainability will continue to be an intention rather than an action.

  1. The Huffington Post: World Council of Churches divests from fossil fuels. Available at: Last accessed on 21.07.2014 []
  2. Think Progress: World Council of Churches – Report of the Finance Policy Committee Available at: Policy_Committee.pdf Last accessed: 21.07.2014 []