United Church Funds (UCF) is pleased to share the progress of our response to the call for urgent action on climate change to the 31st General Synod of the United Church of Christ meeting in Baltimore, Maryland from June 30-July 4, 2017.
UCF proudly collaborated with proponents in drafting the resolution Urging Divestment – Along with Other Strategies – from Fossil Fuel Companies at the 2013 General Synod. The resolved clauses represent the United Church of Christ’s commitment to address climate change through all available methods and UCF continues to use the 2013 resolution as a guide for our action.
- United Church Funds was part of the #WeAreStillIn campaign that includes more than 1,000 governors, mayors, businesses, investors, and colleges and universities – declaring our intent to continue to ensure the U.S. remains a global leader in reducing carbon emissions by contributing to the international commitments of the Paris agreement.
- United Church Funds leverages its membership in several organizations, including the Interfaith Center for Corporate Responsibility (ICCR) and USSIF (the Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment) to amplify the power of our shareholder actions. We are a signatory to the CDP (formerly the Carbon Disclosure Project) and to the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment.
- We are part of a coalition of investors that launched the RE100 initiative in 2014 that persuades corporations to make a public pledge to move to 100% renewable electricity for their international operations. Presently, 96 corporations have committed to this initiative, including Facebook, H&M, Microsoft, Nestlé, Starbucks, Unilever and Walmart.
- United Church Funds was compelled to view the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline as an environmental and a social risk. We hosted a meeting of investors with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Chairman Dave Archambault II and co-filed a resolution with Marathon Petroleum Corp., pressuring the company for better environmental and social due diligence on projects in which they partner. We also sent a member of the tribe, Ms. Jody Gilette to attend the Marathon Petroleum annual meeting and speak directly to the management and board of directors of the company. The resolution received 35% support.
- United Church Funds was actively involved in a resolution seeking that the Bank of New York Mellon sync up between their stated environmental concerns and the way they vote shareholder resolutions on climate. This may have contributed in a small way to the first majority-level of support for environmental shareholder resolutions with oil giants Exxon Mobil and Occidental Petroleum.
Screening and Divesting
- United Church Funds created the Beyond Fossil Fuels Fund and Beyond Fossil Fuels Balanced Fund in response to the 2013 resolution. Since our last report, UCF’s Beyond Fossil Fuels Balanced Fund now more closely mimics our Moderate Balanced Fund in that it is now a globally diversified fund divested of fossil fuels companies in both the equity and fixed income assets, improving what was a domestic equity fund paired with our Fixed Income Fund. In this way we are anticipating and responding to our clients interested in divested options.
- We also eliminated coal and tar sands from all our funds, and our Fixed Income Fund is now 9% invested in green bonds dedicated to energy conservation and other climate solutions.
United Church Funds pledges to remain in covenant with the resolution. In order to achieve the goals of reversing climate change, UCC advocates must demand that their settings also be in compliance with it. Have a conversation with your church or organization and learn if your current investments reflect your values in support of this resolution.
Contact us at [email protected] or (877)-806-4989 to discuss on how to align your investments with your values!