The Uniting Church has added mining and coal seam gas on its ‘black list’ of industries and companies it will cease investment in.
The ABC said NSW and ACT Synod voted to divest shares in coal and CSG companies, and are encouraging other states to do the same.
The group’s spokesman Justin Whelan said this tactic is more useful than lobbying state and federal governments.
The Church’s Environmental Action Group proposed the motion, arguing the industries are worsening the ‘climate change emergency’ because they produce fossil fuels.
“We have had a policy of divesting from certain industries that cause great harm,” he said.
“The policy that we proposed, and that the Synod accepted, was to add fossil fuel and extraction companies to that list as a way of demonstrating that we are going to put our money where our mouth is.”
Environment Victoria’s Mark Wakeham said there is a global trend to shift away from investing fossil fuels.
“The Uniting Church is really taking a lead in Australia, but I think increasingly we’re going to see it go mainstream,” he said.
The State Council of the Uniting Church voted to stop investing in CSG and coal mining at last weekend’s Synod in Sydney.
Four hundred delegates were asked to think about a motion that places corporations that extract fossil fuels on the Church’s Excluded Stock List.
It also asked for an instant freeze on new investments and the sale within a year of existing holdings in CSG and mining companies.