As a faith-based investor guided by a vision of a just world for all, we acknowledge that there is an urgent need to accelerate the reduction of greenhouse gases and toxic emissions, and seek climate justice for all people.
According to UN Secretary-General António Guterres, “Climate change is happening now and to all of us.” He added, “No country or community is immune. And, as is always the case, the poor and vulnerable are the first to suffer and the worst hit.”
Climate justice advances the rights of people and nature to be protected against the stresses on our climate system caused by human activity. Climate justice addresses the ways in which social, racial, and economic justice are intertwined with climate crisis. It recognizes the historically disproportionate impact of environmental pollution and climate change on Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) communities and low wealth nations around the world who are least responsible for the crisis. Climate justice additionally entails a commitment to the moral imperative of ensuring the fundamental welfare of children and future generations1.
Climate justice is grounded in two fundamental tenets of the Christian faith: care for creation and love of neighbor, which align with the core beliefs of many religions and ethical systems. In the living out of these commitments, UCF is also inspired by the United Church of Christ’s notable legacy of environmental justice advocacy2.
These have prompted both UCF and the UCC to commit support for the Paris Agreement’s call to reduce carbon emissions to net zero by 2050. This agreement also notably calls for “…a just transition of the workforce and the creation of decent work and quality jobs.”
As fiduciaries, we believe a climate justice framework amplifies our capacity to identify systemic investment risks related to a changing climate and its impact on communities. We believe that promoting climate justice in the capital markets supports corporate supply chain resilience, stakeholder trust and brand equity. All of these matters are critical to the success of the larger economy and long-term diversified investors.
In order to promote Climate Justice, we commit to the following four action steps:
1 World Council of Churches published “Climate-Responsible Finance – a Moral Imperative towards Children” which cites a UNICEF research report stating that one billion children at ‘extremely high risk’ of the impacts of climate change.
2 The UCC’s commitment to climate justice grows out of the central, pioneering role that leaders of the UCC’s Commission for Racial Justice played in launching the environmental justice movement in the 1980s by naming “environmental racism” for the first time and focusing attention on the racial and economic justice dimensions of environmental harm. In 2013, the UCC was the first denomination to pass a resolution calling for divestment from fossil fuel companies. In 2019, the UCC was the first Christian denomination to endorse the Green New Deal. In 2021, the UCC became the first mainline Protestant denomination to publicly affirm and proclaim that nature has rights.