Investing in a Sustainable Manner

 on March 4, 2024

As Anglicans we have a respon- sibility in the preservation of our world, as we are stewards of creation. The fifth mark of mission states: “We will strive to safeguard the integrity of creation and sustain and renew the life of the earth.”

As an early adopter of Environmental, Social, Governance (ESG) funds our diocese has been fully engaged in investing in companies whose values mirror our own.

Last year a subgroup of the Climate Justice Niagara (CJN) committee started a conversa- tion to see if there were further steps that the diocese could take in being a more sustainable investor.

The recent Lambeth Call on Environment and Sustainable Development included this encouragement to Anglicans worldwide: “we must ensure we use and invest our assets ethically to be good news for our planet and people, and as a matter of urgency, remove our funds from any new fossil fuel exploration, and seek to invest in renewable energy sources.”

In the fall of 2016, the Council of General Synod established a Responsible Investing Task Force, in response to Resolution A171-R2, with a mandate to review and, if deemed appropri- ate, recommend changes to the current investment portfolio and the investment policies of the General Synod and the General Synod Pension Plan in relation to environmental, social, and governance (ESG) concerns. The Task Force’s Final Report presented in 2018 recognised climate change as an urgent ethical issue requiring an imme- diate response from all sectors of society.

We believe that climate change is an urgent ethical issue requiring an immediate response from all sectors of society. We acknowledge our responsibility to ensure that our investments are managed in a manner that is consistent with the Church’s stance on climate change. At the same time our task force is mindful of the social impacts of a transi- tion to a low carbon economy and supports the vision of a “just transition.” A just transi- tion is a transition “towards an environmentally sustainable economy [that is] well managed and contribute[s] to the goals of decent work for all, social inclusion, and the eradication of poverty.

Decisions we make about the transition—including our own investment decisions—may have impacts on individuals, families, and communities. We need to be inclusive in our thinking and our discussions and make those decisions in ways that minimize or mitigate negative impacts even as we try to address our common con- cerns about climate change.

The Task Force, which included Dean Tim Dobbin, recommended an inclusive approach to responsible invest- ing that mitigates ‘negative impacts even as we try to address our common concerns about climate change.’

The investing approach by the diocesan investment manager seeks to live into this recommen- dation by investing in compa- nies that are leading the way on environmental sustainability and renewable energy, and by actively engaging companies that could be doing better.

This year CJN will be con- tinuing to have a conversation about investing sustainably and ethically. Although we may have been doing “no wrong” with our ESG investments, have we been doing everything right by the future of planet and its people?

As individuals there are steps that we can also take, and CJN hopes that many of you will consider a more sustainable investing policy. Would you con- sider divesting from oil and gas companies? Is investing in ESGs an option for you? Could you use a Credit Union rather than a bank? Are you aware of how your pension fund is invested? Could you invest in more green energy or Indigenous projects? All issues that CJN will con- tinue to investigate as we move forward on learning more about sustainable investing.

With the increasing number of climate disasters happening around the world and here in Canada, as Christians we have a moral imperative to continue to ask questions about our invest- ments. Do they support our call to care for God’s creation and the renewal of the life of the Earth? To learn more about Climate Justice Niagara visit:

  • Sue Carson

    Sue Carson is the chair of Climate Justice Niagara and a member of St. James, Dundas.

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