General Assembly takes stand on fossil fuel investments

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Rev Sally Foster-Fulton

The General Assembly of the Church of Scotland has voted not to invest in companies whose major business depends on the extraction and sale of the most unclean energy sources.

It has also agreed to ask its investors trustees to engage with firms to encourage them to move away from fossil fuels and to invest instead in renewables and a more sustainable future.

The Church and Society Council will report back its findings to the General Assembly of 2018.

A deliverance to call on the Scottish and UK Governments and businesses active in the North Sea oil and gas industry to help speed the transition to a low carbon economy and to ensure that the skills and experience of workers in the offshore industry are not lost as North Sea oil and gas fields run down was also approved.

Transition

The Rev Sally Foster-Fulton, convener of the Church and Society Council, said: "The Church of Scotland will now engage with fossil fuel companies to help them to make the vital shift to renewable energies.

"We will not shy away from asking hard questions.

"Companies who want to invest in that transition are ones we want to have our dealings with."

Mrs Foster-Fulton said the decision made by the General Assembly is a clear indication that Church of Scotland members understand that "now is not the time for business as usual".

"We have friends across the globe who are struggling to deal with the consequences of our over dependence on fossil fuels," she said.

"We owe to them, ourselves and future generations to make that transition.

"We have moral leverage and will be working with the church investors group which is an ecumenical venture on this issue so it won't just be one denomination doing this, it will be a collaborative effort."