An article by FaithInvest CEO Dr Lorna Gold has appeared in the international news weekly The Tablet on Pope Francis's call for urgent action on the planetary crisis in his latest teaching Laudate Deum, released today.
In the piece, Dr Gold says: 'Faith institutions realise they have a critical role to play in the transition to a new energy economy. These institutions are major asset owners and have billions of dollars invested in global markets.
'By investing in line with their values, screening out harmful investments and embracing vehicles that protect the planet and its people, they are contributing to a tidal shift in the economy'.
The Catholic Church is not alone in being concerned about climate change, she says: The Church of England has made a credible commitment to net zero and divested from oil and gas companies.
'The Muslim Council of Britain equips volunteers to address sustainability and climate change within communities. Sikh and Buddhist communities across the world have mobilised to re-generate sacred forests. All faiths are now prioritising action on climate.'
She urged government leaders to remain disciplined in their efforts to support climate initiatives, and excoriated the UK Government for its decision to 'step back' from the UK’s legally binding net zero commitments.
The reaction by many investors to the UK's decision was swift and negative, she said: 'The very day that the PM [Prime Minister] made his announcement, over 400 NGOs and businesses including UKSIF, Nestle, IKEA, Brunel, Aviva Investors and EON wrote an open letter to him, laying out their concerns over the watering down of net zero commitments. This kind of quick, united action is extremely rare among institutional investors, and is a sign of how seriously they take this issue.'
As well as wanting the kind of ambition and consistency that all investors want, faith-aligned investors go a step further, she writes in her opinion piece: 'They want to know that government is acting in the best interests of all humanity. Sadly, it is not possible to say that of government at the moment. We must look to leaders like Pope Francis and others for the moral leadership we so urgently need.'
Read Dr Gold's opinion piece in its entirety here.
Read our story on Pope Francis's Laudate Deum here.