Sunflowers stand in a field near inactive oil drilling rigs in Dickinson, N.D., Jan. 21, 2016. CNS photo/Andrew Cullen, Reuters

Montreal Sisters divest from fossil fuel industry

  • September 20, 2018

Another Canadian Catholic institution has joined in the movement to sell off all carbon-based energy stocks and forbid portfolio managers from buying any more.

The Sisters of Institute Notre-Dame de Bon Conseil de Montreal have added their names to the Catherine Donnelly Foundation (a legacy foundation of the Sisters of Service), the Canadian Jesuits, Scarboro Missions and the Canadian Ursuline Sisters which have all divested from companies that find, process and sell oil, gas and coal.

A total of 19 Catholic institutions this year announced their divestments in the now annual Season of Creation press release organized by the Global Catholic Climate Movement. Caritas India and the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference were the biggest of the 2018 Catholic divesters. The 650-member Global Catholic Climate Movement, started by Franciscans in 2015, is part of the Global Climate Action Summit, a worldwide network of nonprofits trying to solve the climate crisis. Over 900 institutions representing more than $6 trillion in invested funds have joined the divestment movement over the last decade.

Faith-based organizations of all types represent over one-quarter of those who have registered a commitment to sell off energy stocks. Among them, a total of 122 Catholic institutions around the world have either completely divested or are in the process.

This year Ireland became the first national government to divest and the cities of New York and London are in the process. Major medical organizations, including the American Medical Association, have divested, citing the effects of air pollution and climate change on health.

Canadian fund managers Genus Capital Management reports that its fossil-free fund over the last five years has outperformed the standard stock market indexes by almost two per cent.

The fossil fuel divestment movement began on American university campuses in 2011 and has spread to 37 countries.

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