Massachusetts Conference Minister and President Jim Antal and representatives of the United Church Funds negotiated a compromise resolution on divesting from fossil fuel companies that has received unanimous committee support going into the full General Synod plenary.
The original resolution called for the UCC and its instrumentalities to divest itself of investments in fossil fuel companies. When Committee 6 convened Sunday morning to consider the issue, its members received copies of the substitute resolution that had been negotiated.
The new resolution calls on all settings of the denomination to "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." Strategies listed ranged from making lifestyle changes in homes, businesses and churches, demanding legislative action, engaging in public witness and engaging in "activities, boycotts and shareholder actions with companies, up to and including divestment."
The resolution also calls for making "shareholder engagement on climate change an immediate, top priority for the next five years" and calls on both the 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."
The resolution also calls for the identification of any 'best in class" fossil fuel companies by 2015 and the preparation of a plan to divest UCC funds from any fossil fuel companies not identified as best in class by 2018.
The original resolution was first submitted by the Massachusetts Conference Board of Directors in December; it was then co-sponsored or endorsed by 10 other Conferences. The 214th Annual Meeting of the Massachusetts Conference voted its support of the resolution in June. The UCC Collegium of Officers wrote a letter of support for the resolution prior to the opening of Synod last week.
Read more on the issue at: macucc.org/divest