• Anglican General Synod faces Divestment Vote

    “You Are My Witnesses” (Isaiah 43:10)

    At the 41st General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada from July 7-12, 2016 the Anglican Diocese of Ottawa will bring forward an invitation to all General Synod Delegates to be witnesses through direct and immediate action by supporting resolution C001-Fossil Fuel Divestment.

     

    The time is now.

    Climate change is destroying the integrity of God’s creation. It is negatively impacting people, families, youth, industry, agriculture, employment and community throughout Canada and the world.

    The situation is urgent.

    To maintain a liveable planet 80% of all known fossil fuel deposits must be left in the ground, undeveloped, never burned.

    Our church, at this integral point in history, has an opportunity to contribute to the fulfillment of our baptismal promise to safeguard the integrity of God’s creation by divesting in the fossil fuel industry and beginning to actively invest in renewable energy. Such publicized divestment not only witnesses to people of faith but also aims to press governments to implement strong policies to shift our economy off fossil fuels and in to industry and workforces that are founded on environmental sustainability.

     

    The time is now.

    #GS2016 #divestnow

     

    Read Resolution Number C001 – Ottawa Diocese Motion to General Synod on Fossil Fuel Divestment

    Read the Backgrounder on why Fossil Fuel Divestment matters right now

     

  • VIDEO: It’s time to Break Free

  • Spiritually Rooted Direct Action Training

    This May the global climate movement will be rallying at critical climate justice sites, in massive peaceful resistance designed to slow the extraction of fossil fuels. In Western Canada this site is Burnaby Mountain and the Kinder Morgan pipeline.
    In preparation, Fossil Free Faith was part of hosting a non-violent direct-action training rooted in spirit and faith. The goal was for folks to get a sense of what participating in civil disobedience might look like, the many roles for supporting peaceful acts of resistance (many of which are support roles that don’t involve risking arrest), and hold space to ask questions and do some moral/theological discernment around the risks that the climate crisis presents.
    Read more about Break Free: http://canada.breakfree2016.org.

    April 30 NV Direct Action Training - Poster

    The training is being hosted by Salal and Cedar and Fossil Free Faith, at Canadian Memorial United Church and Centre for Peace. With training being provided by 350.org and Greenpeace.

  • Anglican Diocese of Quebec Divests

    DIOCESE OF QUÉBEC: DIVESTMENT REPORT: 23 November 2015

    Background:

    Some aspects of the Governance of the Diocese of Québec differ from that of most or all other dioceses because of its time and place in pre-Confederation history. Within this Diocese, responsibility for investments rests within the mandate of an entity called Church Society of the Diocese of Québec. Church Society exercises this part of its role through an Investment Committee of professionals who volunteer their time and expertise.

    Process:

    Following the direction of motions passed at the annual general meeting of Church Society, the Investment Committee began four years ago to divest from its mining holdings, given the serious ethical concerns raised around environmental and human rights issues.

    In 2014 a motion passed at the Church Society called on the Investment Committee to review its fossil fuel holdings and present back to Church Society. (This motion was forwarded to the CMWG earlier this year.)

    During that year, extensive documentation on the impacts of fossil fuel exploration, extraction, transformation and transportation were forwarded to the chair of the Investment Committee, Central Board (which governs Church Society) and the Diocesan Executive Council.   Documents collected came from such diverse sources as the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, Governor of the Bank of England, World Council of Churches, The Anglican Consultative Communion and the writings of Pope Francis. (This is but a small sampling of the total research made available from international and national environmental, financial and church bodies.)

    At Church Society’s annual general meeting of 2015 Diocesan Bishop Dennis Drainville, President of Church Society, issued a letter in follow up to the various motions, review of holdings and research. (This letter was forwarded to the CMWG earlier this year.)

    On 23 September 2015, the Investment Committee of the Diocese of Québec was pleased to report that divestment from fossil fuels and mineral extraction was almost complete.

    On 23 November 2015, the Investment Committee was able to provide the details of the divestment process.

    Details:

    Over the past 4 years, $525,000 dollars in gold and copper mining operations have been divested.

    Over the past 2 years, $1.4 million dollars in oil and gas have been divested.

    $320,000 remain in fossil fuels as that financial instrument has not reached maturity. By year end, the committee expects to be 100% divested.

    On 26 November 2015 Bishop Drainville shared this good news within his charge to Synod.

    The Diocese will continue work on this critical issue as part of its commitment to the Fifth Mark of Mission.

    See the full list of who has divested.

  • From COP21 – The Local and the Global

    Paris is a long way from the places that I call home. Trying to schedule phone calls with my partner and kids back home, with a 9-hour time difference, has served as a regular reminder of this.

    Art-Earth at Breaking the FastAnd increasingly, over the past few years, my climate work has felt localized. Systemic, absolutely. Intersectional, sure. But rooted in the places and the people that I call home.

    During graduate school, one of my favourite theologians was a Brazilian Catholic nun named Ivone Gebara. An eco-feminist and liberation theologian, Gebara lit fires and connected dots for me.

    In her book, Longing for Running Water, Gebara talks about God as relatedness, and she talks about relatedness as a human and earthly condition. She says,

    My initial relationship with the earth is not with Earth as a planet that is part of the solar system, but with the earth on which I took my first steps; on which, in time, I took firmer steps; and on which I jumped, rolled, and shed tears. My initial relatedness with the earth is with the soil upon which I was born and through which all my other relationships have been mediated.

    Speaking about Indigenous Rights as part of the #FastfortheClimate.

    Before this trip I spent a lot of time considering what value my localized climate work had at a global meeting like the COP. Here where we’re talking about:

    • Long-term climate reduction targets (Canada needs to get back on track to meet our 2020 targets, and make ambitious but achievable plans to decarbonizes by 2050)
    • Mechanisms to limit global warming levels (nearly all countries have committed to a max 2-degree increase, but the combined plans that they have submitted amount to a 2.7-degree increase, and the reality is that anything over 1.5 degrees is fatal for large, climate-vulnerable regions)
    • Billions of dollars to support mitigation and adaptation efforts globally (the additional call from impacted regions is for increased funds for ‘loss and damages’ for the climate impacts that they, with their low carbon footprint, didn’t cause but are feeling most)
    • Legally binding commitments, 5-year commitment periods, adequate assessment, and a progression clause to ensure commitments scale up over time.

    Billboards in the Subway system linking Indigenous Rights and COP21.None of this is familiar language to me. It feels worlds away, not just 9 hours away, from the earth on which I took my first steps. World away from, but related to, our fights at home to block risky pipelines on Indigenous lands, and reduce tanker traffic on pristine coast, and prevent massive investment in infrastructure projects that lock us into the old economy, and make clear that fracking natural gas is not a climate solution.

    FaceTiming with my kids from Paris.At a Monday panel on faith-based engagement on the climate crisis, Fazlun Khalid, from the Islamic Foundation for Ecology and Environmental Sciences (IFEES), spoke about how the world’s water supplies are limited and constantly recirculating. And he said for him the poignant realization out of that reality is that you and I have probably drank the same water, swam in the same water, bathed in the same water.

    I am in Paris to protect my beloved Pacific Coast, and to amplify the voices of the Indigenous people whose land I call home, to defend the future for my children. And I am in Paris to protect your coasts, to listen to the voices of impacted communities everywhere, to defend the future for your children too.

    If I am homesick, it is amplified by the depth of love that activists and advocates here have for their own homes, their own earth and soil. It is a reminder of why this, and all of our climate justice work, matters.

    Christine Boyle is one of the United Church of Canada’s delegates to COP21. She is the Director of Spirited Social Change, and a co-founder of Fossil Free Faith. She is based on unceded Coast Salish Territory. You can follow her COP21 tweets @christineeboyle or see pictures here

  • Alternative Investments

    Alternative Investments: Summary of Resources

    Author: Walter Whiteley, Trinity-St. Paul’s United Church Climate Justice Group

    DisclaimerThis document does not provide investment advice, and should not be taken as investment advice. It is prudent that individuals and institutions obtain advice from a qualified investment advisor or an investment manager before you make any investment.  We are presenting a range of links and resources to follow up with your investment advisor.

     

    Overview: Reinvestment has several layers:

    1. a) Investments that screen out fossil fuel companies (along with tobacco, weapons, gambling, … ).
    2. b) Positive investments that develop alternative energy sources and related energy infrastructure, as well as in sustainable, resilient infrastructure, and upgrades that save energy.
    3. c) Some of the alternatives below also focus in social capital: locally controlled, perhaps cooperative community development, as a positive way forward.

     

    A quick summary of the steps to reinvest (for individuals and institutions)

    1. a) Do our best with what is available now http://riacanada.ca/wp-content/uploads/2014-Q2-RI-Funds-in-Canada-EN-FINAL.pdf
    2. b) Do your own investigation into holdings using mutual fund information available online
    3. c) Consider sending a letter to your current mutual fund. See this sample letter.
    4. d) Create a portfolio of individual stocks and bonds that reflect your values, on line or with the help of an advisor
    5. e) Use an advisor/ portfolio manager who will listen to what you want and create a low /no carbon portfolio for you.
    6. f) Use sector based ETFS or mutual funds to avoid the energy sector.
    7. g) Use the S&P/TSX Renewable Energy and Clean Technology Index to find companies that can help us transition to a low carbon economy tmxmoney.com/tmx_indices.php?section=tsx&index=%5ETXCT

     

    General advice and information

    1. a) Sustainable Economist http://www.sustainableeconomist.comTimothy Nash’s website has power point presentation on the topic Divest and Reinvest (from the Convergence workshops last fall in Montreal).
    2. b) A number of links on how to find alternatives (US based):  http://divestinvest.org/philanthropy/resources/
    3. c) A Canadian site which has guidance for individuals to move into socially responsible investment:  http://www.ethiquette.ca/en/
    4. d) Extracting Fossil Fuels from your Portfolio: An Updated guide to Personal Divestment and Reinvestmentby 350.org, Green Century Capital Management and Trillium Asset Management

     

    Available to institutions (Accredited Investors Only Institutions )

    Green Chip  http://greenchipfinancial.com
    Alternative energy and Reduction of energy use (Global, with some Canadian content)
    Contact John Cook (in Toronto)

    Genus Capital Management http://genuscap.com
    Has full suite of 5 fully fossil-free investment pools, including bonds, and global equity
    Handles investments for some foundations and churches, and fee reductions for combined institutions.  Contact TSP for information as a possible partner.

    JP Harrison
    Investigating possible grouping of investments by individuals too meet minimum investment of $500,000, or teaming with larger manager to permit $50,000 investments, including RRSPs (in Vancouver)

    Inhance Investments has a suite of SRI funds: http://www.iaclarington.com/en/products/inhance-sri-funds/inhance-sri-funds.aspx#
    The Global SRI fund is fossil free and has 7.9% in alternative energy.
    This is open to both individuals and institutions.

    AGF Global Sustainable Growth Equity Fund is a new fund which is fossil free: http://www.agf.com/sustainableinvesting
    The page includes a number of other links to reports related to Fossil Fuel Divestment, and positive investments.

    CIBC  Blue Heron funds  have a strong set of screens, including being fossil free .  Minimum amount is $100,000 and they may be open to individuals:  http://www.cibcwg.com/web/blueheronadvisorygroup/home

     

    4. Community Bonds

    “How a community bond turns social capital into financial capital” by Elisa Birnbaum in Financial Post, Dec 22, 2014

    The story demonstrates the power of everyday citizens who are supporting social enterprises when traditional methods fall short.

    Related links here:

    1. a) http://socialinnovation.ca/sites/default/files/CommunityBondTrio-lo.pdf
    2. b) Centre for Social Innovation3% to 4.5%
    3. c) SolarShare  5 years at 5% , and
    4. d) ZooShare 7% for 7 Years

     

    Also see:

    1. a) Northern Solar Bonds
      http://www.greentimiskaming.ca/northern_solar_bonds/
      – Starting at 5% for 20 year bonds climbing to 12.75%
      – 4.5% for 5 year bonds
    2. b) Oikocredit: Mennonite Savings and Credit Union provides GICs linked to Oikocredit:https://www.mscu.com/SIA/Oikocredit/
      – The estimated return is 1.3%, and the principle is guaranteed under the Deposit Insurance Corporation of Ontario.
    3. c) Green Bonds (watch for Green Washing – what standards are there?).
    4. d) World Bank Green Bonds (How green?) http://www.worldbank.org/en/topic/climatechange/brief/green-bonds-climate-finance Not clear who can invest, and at what rate(s).
    5. e) Ontario Global Green Bonds http://www.ofina.on.ca/greenbonds/issues.htm75% return

     

    5. Publicly Traded Alternative Energy Companies in Canada.  

    There are some companies in Canada identified as working in the alternative energy sector over a period of years.  This list is not comprehensive, or based on their current investment returns.

    1. a) TransAlta Renewables (projects in Canada, one in the US): http://www.transaltarenewables.com
    2. b) Brookfield Renewable Energy Partners (projects globally) https://www.brookfieldrenewable.com
    3. c) Algonquin Power (projects in Canada and the US): http://www.algonquinpower.com
    4. d) Northland Power  (projects in Canada and Europe): http://www.northlandpower.ca/Default.aspx

    There are many  more such companies in the US and Europe.

    For example see sites like http://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/how-to-invest-in-renewables

     

    1. Investment Managers and Advisors

    A full list of members of the Responsible Investment Organization: http://riacanada.ca

    A few advisors who have extended experience with Socially Responsible Investments.  All are working with some individuals and congregations engaged in divesting:

     

    Toronto

    Sucheta Rajagopal  Portfolio Manager, Jacob Securities Inc.
    Email: srajagopal@jacobsecurities.com  Tel: 416 866-8362

    Alan Harmon, Wealth Advisor (Works for several churches)
    Email: alan.harman@scotiamcleod.com Tel: (416) 862-5836
    http://www.advisors.scotiamcleod.com/aharman

     

    Ottawa

    Tricia K. Spooner, Investment Advisor
    Email: tricia.spooner@cibc.com Tel: (613) 239-2851
    http://www.cibcwg.com/web/tricia-spooner/about-cibc-wood-gundy1

    John Hastings, , RBC Dominion Securities Inc. https://profile.rbcwealthmanagement.com/john.hastings
    Phone: 613-566-2003

    Walter Traversy, CIBC Wood Gundy
    http://www.cibcwg.com/web/walter-traversy/home
    Phone: 613-271-1511

     

    Fossil Free Indexes:

    http://fossilfreeindexes.com/
    http://web.tmxmoney.com/tmx_indices.php?section=tsx&index=^TXCT

     

    Mission Based Investing:

    Why should only the income returned from investments be used for our mission? Why not use all of our investment decisions to support the mission?
    Link to Social Economy Center Presentation by Bill Young on Mission Related Investing:http://www.socialeconomycentre.ca/sites/default/files/MissionRelatedInvesting.pdf

    OIKO Credit bonds (above) and Canadian Alternative Investment Cooperative (CAIC)  http://www.caic.ca/apply.html are examples mission based investing used by some religious groups, including the national United Church of Canada`

     

    Easy-as-Pie Reinvestment Option: from the Sustainable Economist:

    http://www.sustainableeconomist.com/easy_as_pie_portfolio

    (1) Global Equity 60% Inhance Global Equity SRI Class F-Series (CCM5013)  Could choose Fossil-Free – see above)

    (2) Government Bonds 30% iShares 1-10 Year Laddered Government Bond Index ETF (CLG)

    (3) Impact Bonds 10% Oikocredit Global Impact GIC (see above)

     

    On-line stories about individuals around the world divesting:

    The Guardian is planning a global webinar on individual divestment: See article and sign up for webinar series

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