Catholic groups check if Church funds being invested in dirty energy
Caritas Philippines, the Diocese of San Carlos and the Global Catholic Climate Movement (GCCM) want financial institutions to ensure that Church development funds are not invested in coal and other dirty-energy and extractive industries.
“We are now being challenged to fully commit to our advocacy campaigns, especially on appealing to our government to declare the Philippines coal-free,” said Fr. Edwin Gariguez, executive secretary of Caritas Philippines.
A “better way” to do that, Gariguez said, was to make certain that Church funds in financial institutions were not used for dirty energy and other extractives.
“We want these financial institutions to disclose to us where they have invested their funds and should there be investments in coal or other dirty energy, to right away divest them to support the renewable energy sector,” he added.
The call was issued at the launch of the “Malinis at Murang Kuryente” campaign in Manila on Thursday.
San Carlos Bishop Gerardo Alminaza urged policymakers and investors to consider the country’s untapped renewable energy potential, which could provide clean and affordable electricity to consumers.
“We call on these banks to consider the environmental, social and economic impacts brought about by their continued coal support,” Alminaza said.
He said large banks should consider not only profitability but also the ethics of their investments.
“[T]he cry of the Earth is one with the cry of the poor: to abandon this path of death and destruction fueled by fossil fuels, and deliver on the promise of clean and affordable energy for the people,” the bishop said.
Bro. John Din of the GCCM expressed hope that other dioceses and religious congregations would support their cause and issue the same call to financial agencies for greater impact.
Bishops have already tackled the divestment issue and are “just waiting for the right time to come out with a pastoral letter for greater impact,” according to Alminaza.
Caritas Philippines said the Malinis at Murang Kuryente campaign would spread to dioceses, parishes, schools, religious groups, congregations and nongovernmental organizations.
“Our development funds are raised to uplift the lives and dignity of the poor and the vulnerable. Having them invested in coal and other extractive industries is one way of killing the people we are mandated to protect,” Gariguez said.
“We cannot allow that from continuously happening.”
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