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Church Of England Ditches Big Oil Stocks Over Climate Goals Failure

The Church of England is dumping all remaining oil and gas majors from its portfolio for failing to align with the 1.5 degrees Celsius pathway, the Church Commissioners for England said on Thursday.

The Church of England will now exclude from its portfolio BP, Shell, ExxonMobil, TotalEnergies, Eni, Equinor, Ecopetrol, Occidental Petroleum, Pemex, Repsol, and Sasol, “after concluding that none are aligned with the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement, as assessed by the Transition Pathway Initiative (TPI).”

Back in 2021, the Church of England, which manages a $13.2 billion (£10.3 billion) endowment fund, excluded another 20 oil and gas majors from its investment portfolio.

Apart from the Big Oil names announced today, the Commissioners will also exclude “all other companies primarily engaged in the exploration, production and refining of oil or gas, unless they are in genuine alignment with a 1.5°C pathway, by the end of 2023.”

“With the 2021 exclusions and those announced today, the Church Commissioners will have excluded all oil and gas majors. The broader exclusion of all oil and gas exploration, production and refining companies will follow by the end of 2023,” the Church of England said.

“Soberingly, the energy majors have not listened to significant voices in the societies and markets they serve and are not moving quickly enough on the transition,” said Alan Smith, First Church Estates Commissioner.

“If any of these energy companies come into alignment with our criteria in the future, we would reconsider our position. Indeed, that is something we would hope for.”

The church has less than 1% invested in oil and gas from the endowment fund, while the $4.1 billion (£3.2 billion) pension scheme includes around $8.9 million (£7 million) invested in oil and gas firms, according to Financial Times estimates.  

The move to exclude Big Oil from the church’s portfolio follows disappointment among institutional investors at the latest strategies of Shell and BP, which doubled down on oil and gas, although they kept their emission reduction goals.

The Church of England Pensions Board is “reviewing our remaining investments” in Shell, Laura Hillis, director for climate and environment at the Church of England Pensions Board, told Bloomberg last week.

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By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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