General Synod 2013 Resolution

United Church Funds is immensely proud of the collaboration achieved in drafting the resolution Urging Divestment – Along with Other Strategies – from Fossil Fuel Companies. The resolved clauses represent a commitment by UCF, and aspirations of the United Church of Christ, to address climate change through all available methods.

The resolution includes the following resolved clauses —

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Twenty-ninth General Synod of the United Church of Christ raises its prophetic voice regarding the urgency of healing the climate of the earth, our home and God’s gift for the future of all life, both human and all other life,

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Twenty-ninth General Synod of the United Church of Christ calls upon all Members, Local Churches, Associations, Conferences, Agencies, Associated, Affiliated and Covenanted Ministries (and their successor bodies) to —

a) Commit to using a spectrum of strategies to reduce the use of fossil fuels, our carbon footprint, and our complicity with the fossil fuel industry
• make lifestyle changes to reduce the use of fossil fuels in our lives, our homes, our businesses and our churches
• demand action from legislators and advocate for the creation and enforcement of carbon- reducing laws
• publicly witness to and create educational programs that highlight the dangers of climate change
• engage in activities, boycotts, and shareholder actions with companies, up to and including divestment

b) Make shareholder engagement on climate change an immediate, top priority for the next five years by —
• demanding transparency regarding climate change legislation lobbying,
• insisting that companies’ operations and products conform to achieve the goal of scientifically understood safe levels of CO2 and methane, and
• requiring companies to examine and disclose their carbon assets that are at risk of being stranded in the event of a carbon tax or some other executive or legislative action.

c) Seek out fossil-fuel free investment vehicles and call on both United Church Funds and the Pension Boards to create and promote an investment vehicle free of fossil fuel companies for qualified investors within 18 months.

d) As a way to maintain the trajectory of accomplishments of the 4/1 Earth campaign, report updates on progress made and actions taken in the implementation of this resolution that will be sent to a national UCC database to be established immediately by the United Church of Christ Board.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Twenty-ninth General Synod of the United Church of Christ calls upon both United Church Funds and the Pension Boards to accomplish the following to the fullest extent allowable by applicable law –

a) By Synod 2015, complete whatever research is necessary to identify “best in class” fossil fuel companies (if any); to report these findings to Synod in 2015, along with a plan whereby, by June 2018, none of either the Pension Boards nor UCF directly held assets will include holdings of either public equities or corporate bonds in fossil fuel companies except those either the Pension Boards or UCF identifies as “best in class.” This research process should be conducted on a periodic basis and the research metrics used should continually reference the newest climate science as a permanent way to analyze fossil fuel companies. The Pension Boards and UCF should hold in their portfolios only those companies that they deem “best in class.”

b) Report actions taken as a result of this research to the United Church of Christ Board on an annual basis to be shared with future General Synod delegates. These actions should always be compatible with a “just and sustainable world”, as identified by the Core Purpose of the United Church of Christ.

c) Provide quarterly updates, available to the public, detailing research undertaken, progress made and actions taken in the implementation of this resolution to the national database created by the United 56  Church of Christ Board. Whenever possible, communicate these actions to the media to hasten the revocation of the social license which the fossil fuel companies depend on to stay in business.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the twenty-ninth General Synod of the United Church of Christ commits each of the next five General Synods to hold a hearing focusing on climate change; progress made by UCF, the Pension Boards, and other UCC entities to fulfill this resolution; and how the vocation of the church is and must change in the context of climate change.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Twenty-ninth General Synod of the United Church of Christ calls upon the General Minister and President of the United Church of Christ to inform those fossil fuel companies of the passage and implementation of this resolution.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Twenty-ninth General Synod of the United Church of Christ asks the General Minister and President of the United Church of Christ to engage leaders of other religious traditions and relevant organizations to explore ways that they and their constituents might join the UCC in this action.

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED that the Twenty-ninth General Synod of the United Church of Christ remains profoundly concerned about the disproportionate impact climate change is already having on those living in poverty and in the least developed countries, the elderly and children and those least responsible for the emissions of greenhouse gases, and recognizes the moral mandate for humanity to shift to a sustainable energy plan in a way that is both just and compassionate.

FUNDING
Funding for the implementation of this Resolution will be made in accordance with the overall mandates of the affected agencies and the funds available.

IMPLEMENTATION
The Collegium of Officers, in consultation with appropriate ministries or other entities within the United Church of Christ, will determine the implementing body.

To hear speakers and view the full proceeding leading up to the resolution, click here.

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