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Diocese of Sheffield announces commitment to divestment from fossil fuel companies

The Diocese of Sheffield is delighted to confirm that it has no direct investments in fossil fuel* companies, as has been the case for some time. Following a meeting of the Bishop’s Council, it has also committed to not reinvesting in them in the future.

The Diocese of Sheffield declared a climate emergency in 2020 following the Church of England’s General Synod February 2020 motion for all parts of the Church to reach ‘Net Zero’ carbon emissions by 2030. General Synod is the elected body representing all churches of the Church of England.

Fossil fuel divestment is a powerful act of faith that hundreds of global religious institutions have taken to respond to the climate emergency.

This work is supported by our Environment and Climate Justice Policy agreed in July 2021. The Policy states our commitment to action including in prayer and worship, energy use, emissions from transport, investments, plastics, water, biodiversity, campaigning and promoting climate justice. It is integral part of our Diocesan Strategy. In seeking to be a church that is renewed we also work towards the renewal of the earth. In seeking to be a church that is released we find increasing freedom from lifestyles that abuse the natural world. In seeking to be a church that is rejuvenated we stand by succeeding generations, who will be most impacted by the climate and ecological emergencies. The policy can be found here.

This commitment is made alongside our link Diocese, the Diocese of Bondo in Kenya.

Bishop Pete Wilcox, Bishop of Sheffield said:

“As Christians we have a mission to speak out urgently for immediate action to prevent irreversible climate impacts and ensure a liveable planet for all of God’s Creation. This is reflected in the Church of England’s fifth mark of mission ‘To strive to safeguard the integrity of creation and sustain and renew the life of the earth.’ I am aware that our Diocese includes many mining towns and villages. I want to acknowledge and thank people in those communities who worked sacrificially over generations to provide energy for our country and beyond. Their work fuelled extraordinary advances in areas such as industry and medicine, and the flourishing of our national economy. The closure of the former coalfields has resulted in economic and social disadvantage and ill health for people who risked their lives to power the nation, but our hope is that divestment from fossil fuels can be part of a huge economic change, creating for these communities many new sources of employment in green technology. Our local churches in these parishes continue to stand alongside those communities, offering Christ’s love and welcome to all.”

Bishop David Kodia, Diocese of Bondo, Kenya said:

“The world’s faith leaders appealed for action in advance of COP26, raising awareness of the unprecedented challenges that threaten us and life on God’s created world. This includes working for financial investments with environmentally and socially responsible standards. We are calling for our respective governments to invest more in green energy which in our view is not just economically viable but also environmentally friendlier. Currently the Anglican Church of Kenya is promoting Green Anglican, whose main objective is to discourage the use of fossil energy. The joint appeal stated: ‘we have inherited a garden: we must not leave a desert to our children’. The UN estimates that Eastern Africa has already warmed by an average of 1.3 degrees Celsius over the past few decades.11 This will lead to greater droughts alongside times of extremely heavy rainfall in my country. Access to water, food security and extreme weather events affect our poorest and most vulnerable communities who are on the frontline of a climate crisis they did not create. The Diocese of Bondo does not hold investments in fossil fuels, and welcomes the commitment to divest by the Diocese of Sheffield. Our prayers are with all leaders meeting in Glasgow at COP26. Fossil fuel exploitation has virtually affected most people in the northern part of Kenya where most of the lands originally belonging to the pastoral communities have been taken over by multinationals for exploitation.”

*‘Fossil fuel’ companies defined as a direct investment in a company that generates more than 5% of their revenue from the extraction of coal or oil sands, or more than 10% of their revenue from the extraction, production and/or refining of conventional oil or gas.

Further information Cathy Rhodes, Diocesan Environmental Adviser