• Canadian Unitarians Vote to Divest

    At their AGM this weekend (May 15-17th), delegates to the Canadian Unitarian Council passed a Fossil Fuel Divestment motion!

    The full motion text is below.
    You can watch the AGM live online by clicking here, or find out more about the full AGM program here.


    PROPOSED ACTION: Socially Responsible Investment Action – Fossil Fuel
    PROPOSERS: Environment Monitoring Group
    CONTACT: Forrest Smith, environment@cuc.ca
    DATE: Updated March 2015


    1. The climate crisis threatens Earth systems through warming, destabilization of the
    climate, sea level rise, and the acidification of the oceans, of which most of the burden
    has fallen and will fall on the poorest people in the world, who are least responsible for
    the crisis.

    2. In 2009, the CUC reaffirmed the Environmental Principles and Values of
    Canadian Unitarian Universalists and called upon the CUC and its members to provide
    leadership through collective and individual actions, and to be a strong voice and
    presence, in confronting environmental issues. Those principles and values included:
    a. Sustainability: Ensuring sustainability of the earth and all life upon it is our first
    responsibility to future generations and to all the species with which we share
    the planet.
    b. Ethical Action: We must adopt practices not only appropriate to our time and
    place but also that address needs of the future.
    c. Natural Capital: A sustainable economy must limit consumption to the “interest”
    produced by the natural capital upon which it depends.

    3. If all known fossil fuel reserves are burned, they will produce five times the amount of
    greenhouse gas emissions required to raise global temperatures beyond 2°C, the level
    that leaders of 167 countries, including Canada, have agreed represents a threshold
    beyond which there would be dangerous human-caused interference with the climate

    4. We have a moral responsibility to Earth, to all beings, and to future generations to do
    everything in our power to bring about a swift transition from fossil fuels to a
    sustainable energy economy.

    5. A global and growing movement is calling upon universities, pension funds, public
    entities, and religious institutions to divest their holdings in the 200 major fossil fuel
    companies ranked by the carbon content of their fossil fuel reserves as listed at
    FossilFreeIndexes.com which together control a significant portion of known reserves.

    6. The CUC adopted a 1997 Socially Responsible Investment Policy (see Appendix C)
    resolution requiring “the CUC — in investing the funds of the CUC — make all
    reasonable efforts to avoid the holding of securities issued by corporations and agencies
    involved in nuclear power, military weapons, tobacco, gambling and all corporations
    that persist in human rights violations or persist in non-sustainable environmental

    7. The CUC has already divested from the top Carbon Underground 200 securities.

    Therefore, in order to further fulfill the previously approved resolutions of 1997 and 2009, we
    propose the following actions:

    1. The CUC will continue a policy of not purchasing securities of Carbon Underground 200
    (latest edition) companies as investments; and

    2. The CUC will continue to invest an appropriate investment share in securities that will
    support a swift transition to a clean energy economy, such as renewable energy and
    energy-efficiency-related securities; and

    3. Notwithstanding the actions above:
    a. The CUC may acquire and retain investments in Carbon Underground 200
    companies, provided it engages in shareholder activism that seeks
    environmental justice or transition to clean and renewable energy;
    b. The CUC may purchase the minimal shares of Carbon Underground 200
    companies necessary to permit introduction of shareholder resolutions seeking
    environmental justice or transition to clean and renewable energy; and
    c. The CUC shall not take any action inconsistent with its fiduciary duty or that is
    incompatible with the principles of sound investment.

    4. That the Treasurer of the CUC report to each CUC Annual General Meeting from 2016
    through 2020 on CUC’s progress on the above actions; and

    5. That the CUC encourage member congregations and Unitarian Universalists generally,
    to review their congregational and personal investments with a view to taking action to
    similarly divest from Carbon Underground 200 companies and to mitigate climate
    change via supporting shareholder activism designed to end use of fossil fuels, and
    investment in renewable energy and conservation; and

    6. The CUC Environmental Monitoring Group will survey member congregations in 2016
    and again in 2017, tabulate the results and communicate to CUC Members reported

  • Faith and Divestment: Feb 12th, at York University

    A Faith and Justice Perspective: Divestment from Fossil Fuels

    “The destruction of the earth’s environment is the human rights challenge of our time.” – Archbishop Desmond Tutu

    “If it’s wrong to wreck the climate then it’s wrong to profit from that wreckage.” Do the Math: Bill McKibbon, 350.0rg

    Thursday, February 12th, 2015 4pm-6pm
    140 McLaughlin College
    Senior Common Room

    Hosted by the Student Christian Movement & Divest York

    Come celebrate Global Divestment Day with the Student Christian Movement and Divest York from a faith and justice perspective!

    Consensus Scientific studies conclude that over 80% of the fossil fuel reserves must be left in the ground, and not burned, if we are to stay under 2 degrees celsius of global warming. Divestment is one tool to remove the social license for extracting and burning fossil fuels and the resulting CO2 pollution of the atmosphere and the oceans. As fossil fuel reserves become unburnable (stranded) in the medium term, divestment is also an important fiduciary (faithful) decision.

    Join us as we welcome Professor Walter Whiteley to host our discussion.Walter.Whiteley

    Professor Walter Whiteley, Department of Mathematics and Statistics
    Member of the Graduate Programs in Mathematics, in Education, in Computer Science

    Former member: Board of Trustees, York University Pension Fund
    Member of Divest York working group, Climate Justice Group, the Advisory Board of York University Student Christian Movement

    Download the event poster here.

    For more information, contact: york@scmcanada.org

  • February 13 & 14th, 2015: Global Divestment Day

  • VIDEOS: Divestment or What? Toronto, 2014

    Fletcher Harper of GreenFaith (USA) explores the rationale for faith-based divestment with a focus on historical roots for contemporary action.
    At the 6th Annual Green Awakening Network/Greening Sacred Spaces forum on March 1 2014. With an introduction by the David MacDonald.

    Should Canadian faith communities be “faithfully disruptive” and divest from the fossil fuel industry?
    Christine Boyle of Spirited Social Change addresses this question at the 6th Annual Green Awakening Network/Greening Sacred Spaces forum on March 1 2014.

    Q & A panel with presenters at the 6th Annual Green Awakening Network / Greening Sacred Spaces forum.
    Jane Ambachtsheer, Christine Boyle, Mike Brigham, Fletcher Harper, & Monica Resendes address questions related to faith communities and fossil fuel divestment. David MacDonald moderates.

  • Fossil Fuel Divestment Hits $50 Billion

    September 22 2014 — “Over 800 global investors have now committed to divest their holdings in fossil fuels. New signatories encompass a broad diversity of sectors and regions— including foundations, individuals, faith groups, health care organizations, cities and universities around the world. Their pledge was revealed at a news conference in New York today, and will be presented tomorrow at the United Nations Climate Summit where over 120 world leaders will gather.

    A leading advocate of the movement, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, called on institutions and people of conscience to divest in a video recorded for the
    announcement: “Climate change is the human rights challenge of our time. We can no longer continue feeding our addiction to fossil fuels as if there is no tomorrow, for there will be no tomorrow.” He called for a freeze on all new fossil fuel exploration as the companies cannot safely burn 75% of known reserves.
    The fossil free Divest-Invest movement has grown explosively since its launch three years ago. Today’s announcement includes over 650 individuals and 180 institutions, including 50 new foundations added to the 17 who pledged in January. Together these institutions hold over $50 billion in total assets. Signers pledge to divest from fossil fuels over five years, taking a variety of approaches.
    The foundations announced today include the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, whose original endowment comes from wealth generated in the Standard Oil Company. The Fund will be divested first from coal and tar sands by the end of this year, with more to come thereafter.”
    For the full Sept 22 2014 press release from the global Divest/Invest coalition, click here.
  • Sept. 29 Toronto Event: Religious Investment Decisions

    Stained Glass

    Current Issues for Responsible Investors: A one-day workshop for religious investment decision makers.

    Location: Toronto Friends Meeting House, 60 Lowther Ave, Toronto
    Date: September 29
    Time: 9am – 2:30pm

    Featured topics:

    •  Climate change and fossil fuel investment
    • New developments in First Nations rights
    • Religious investor collaboration in Britain

    Featured speakers:

    • Edward Mason, Secretary to the Church of England Ethical Investment Advisory Group, Church of England
    • Jane Ambachtsheer, Partner, Mercer
    • Kevin Thomas, Director of Shareholder Engagement, SHARE

    Seating is limited for this free workshop. Please RSVP to acard@share.ca if you would like to attend.

    Hosted by:

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