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Religious Resolutions on Divestment and Reinvestment

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GreenFaith supports faith community resolutions on fossil fuel divestment and reinvestment in a clean energy future, and resolutions calling for study of this topic.  

Examples of resolutions from religious institutions




Recommendations on Divestment and Reinvestment Resolutions

We have several recommendations for those who seek to move these resolutions through their denominations.

1. Go to school on the topic.  Learn about your own denomination’s teachings and positions in regard to climate change, and its history in regards to investment ethics and divestment.  Many denominations adopted statements on both of these topics over 15 years ago.  Become familiar with them  –  and point out that a long history of climate advocacy has, sadly, yielded no results.

2. Make your case based not only on the severity of climate change, but on the religious history for divestment.  The world is full of grave problems.  In responding to these, most religious groups do not pursue divestment and reinvestment.  When you make your case for divestment and reinvestment, refer to the three criteria which religious groups have used for decades when they decide to divest and reinvest (see GreenFaith’s Divest and Reinvest Now)  The criteria are: large scale, systematic harm; intractable opposition to change; and the opportunity to impact society’s moral code.  It is the combination of these three that makes divestment and reinvestment the right choice now.

3. Involve as many people as you can in the discussion.  In addition to actual divestment and reinvestment, the goal of the divestment and reinvestment  campaign is to change the hearts and minds of the public by 

  • provoking a respectful, challenging public debate about the horrible urgency which climate change represents
  • arguing that religious groups should no longer profit from the industry whose products cause climate change
  • urging religious groups to lead by example, reducing their own carbon footprint and investing, consistent with their values, in a clean energy future. 

Education and discussion on these topics are as important as the outcome of the actual votes on the resolution.  Use GreenFaith’s discussion resources to get more people involved.

4. Discuss the resolution with those whom it will impact.  In most religious denominations, the treasurer, Chief Financial Officer, or investment managers are responsible for implementing divestment and investment policies.   For a variety of reasons, these individuals often do not favor divestment and reinvestment.   Out of courtesy, and to foster the most productive dialogue possible, reach out to these leaders and let them know about your resolution.  Seek to understand their perspective.  Be clear and articulate about why you believe divestment and reinvestment are right.  

5. Be prepared with your Plan B.  Divestment and reinvestment resolutions are not easy to pass or to implement.  If your first effort is to propose an actual divestment and reinvestment resolution, we recommend that you prepare for opposition, and be ready to negotiate a period of time during which this topic can be studied and discussed.  When gaining a commitment to discussion, be sure to include discussion of the issue at the local/congregational level – don’t limit the discussion and analysis only to the small number of financial decision-makers who will be focused on the details of implementation.  GreenFaith offers resources to support discussion at the congregational level.  

6. Publicize your efforts.  It’s vital to make the conversation over divestment and reinvestment into a public one.   Write a blog post about your efforts.  Use social media.  Write an op ed.  GreenFaith will be providing sample communications tools about divestment and reinvestment.

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