The Church of England has pledged to divest from investments that involve coal and tar sands. The Anglicans did so as part of the divestment effort to urge companies and other individuals to divest from fossil fuels out of a concern for the environment. However, Breitbart England points out that, for some reason, is the largest private owner of UK forestry that is used in the production of biomass energy. This means huge tax breaks for the church and one would think that if they were serious about their efforts the C of E would sell its position in this area too.
“The Church has a moral responsibility to speak and act on both environmental stewardship and justice for the world’s poor who are most vulnerable to climate change. This responsibility encompasses not only the Church’s own work to reduce our own carbon footprint, but also how the Church’s money is invested and how we engage with companies on this vital issue.”
The Church’s commissioners and senior members made it clear that it is imperative to act ethically when making investments. Edward Mason, Head of Responsible Investment for the Church Commissioners, said: “This is one of the most comprehensive policy frameworks on climate change adopted by any institutional investor. This is not about divestment v engagement. This policy talks to how institutional investors committed to ethical and responsible investment can integrate climate change considerations into their thinking and investment strategy. This is an evolving space. We want to continue to collaborate with others to play our part in the transition towards a low carbon economy and low carbon investing.”
Yet investing ethically is not as clear-cut as the Church appears to believe. Currently, 4 percent of the Church’s investment portfolio is held in sustainable forestry. According to the Times, the Church has broadened that investment by purchasing 6,900 hectares of commercial forestry.
Breitbart also states the Church has also issued statements that tax avoidance is sinful but has no problem using legal avoidance of taxes on its sustainable forestry holdings to skirt paying hundreds of millions of pounds in revenue. Not to mention the fact that biomass fuel production has pushed world food prices up that negatively affect people at or below the poverty line. Also, the source of much of metropolitan England’s power is the Drax power plant that burns wood chips imported from the United States. Just goes to show that when it comes to religion, like environmentalism, it is do as I say, not as I do.