World Council of Churches Divesting from Fossil Fuels

Oil rigs with crossIt’s a movement that includes more than 500 million people in 110 countries. They are people who believe in a higher power, but also understand the value of science. It’s a movement that will likely grow and have a major economic and environmental impact across the globe.

It’s the World Council of Churches announcement that it will divest from fossil fuels.

The council, which represents a half-billion Christians from every continent on the planet, recently announced that it will stop investing in fossil fuels.

The announcement was particularly interesting not just because of the size of the organization, but because the organization is clearly articulating that it believes not only in the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, but also in the science that shows that fossil fuels are leading to global warming.

There have been other organizations that have divested, but none with the influence and sheer numbers as the World Council of Churches. In other words, an organization that needs significant returns on its investments to achieve its mission turning away from what is seemingly “easy money” (the energy industry, which burns fossil fuels to make money, has been raking in record profits in recent years) will almost certainly lead to other organizations to do the same.

What the World Council of Churches decision means

At first glance, it might seem risky to divest in fossil fuels. After all, with big oil, gas and coal companies raking in anywhere between $95 and $120 billion a year in profits, it almost seems irresponsible not to get in on the cash grab.

However, the divestment movement has some small companies and organizations looking beyond short-term returns on their investments and toward decisions that make long-term sense—for the entire world as well as the economy

But until now, most of the green companies and organizations that have made the decision to divest have been small—certainly much smaller than the World Council of Churches.

Some companies and organizations haven’t considered it because they feared pushback from investors who would see the decision as financially irresponsible. Others worried about being labeled as “tree huggers.” Then there were those who figured that their divestment wouldn’t make any difference at all.

Now that the council has joined the movement, all of those excuses will likely go out the window and into the fresh air.

Having such a well-respected, large organization join the other smaller, green companies in the movement gives it credibility. It also demonstrates that money shouldn’t be the only goal of companies and organizations managing an investment portfolio. And, if the headlines generated by the council’s announcement are any indication, it shows that people across the country support divestment in fossil fuels.

The public relations bump, in and of itself, might just be worth it.


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