Saturday, May 14, 2016

Ecological Investing Resolutions to General Synod 2016

Subject: Social and Ecological Investment Task Force

Motion 1

Moved by: Bishop Mark MacDonald, National Indigenous Anglican Bishop Seconded by: the Rev. Bill Mous, Director of Justice, Community and Global Ministries, Diocese of Niagara

That this General Synod request the Council of General Synod

1. to appoint a task force as soon as possible

a) to review the investment policies and practices for the management of the General Synod assets and those of the General Synod Pension Plan in light of the Church’s faith and mission, including the Church’s social and environmental responsibilities;

b) building on previous work, to address environmental, social and governance (ESG) practices of corporations and industries in which our Church invests, to develop guidelines for constructive dialogue, and where necessary divestment, leading towards a low carbon economy;

c) to present an interim report by May 2017 to the Council of General Synod;

d) to report annually on actions taken or under consideration that would make visible the Anglican Church of Canada’s commitment to environmental, social and governance principles and to propose a strategy for ongoing engagement and monitoring.

2. to include in the task force the widest possible range of internal stakeholders including those charged with the ministry of financial responsibility in matters pertaining to the General Synod and General Synod Pension Plan, and those with interests related to sustainable environmental investing.

Subject: Investment Task Force Relationships

Motion 2

Moved by: Bishop Mark MacDonald, National Indigenous Anglican Bishop Seconded by: the Rev. Bill Mous, Director of Justice, Community and Global Ministries, Diocese of Niagara

That this General Synod, as a tangible expression of our desire to move to a low-carbon economy a) become a signatory to the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investing; and

b) make full use of its affiliate membership with Shareholder Association for Research and Education (SHARE) and encourage dioceses to become affiliate members.

Explanatory Note/Background Information

Public Witness for Social and Ecological Justice Coordinating Committee, in conversation with the Creation Matters Working Group, gave consideration to the following in proposing these two motions:

1. The 5th Mark of Mission, “To Strive to Safeguard the Integrity of Creation and Sustain and Renew the Life of the Earth” and the associated baptismal promise; and

2. The direction from the meeting of the Primates of the Anglican Communion in Canterbury, England Jan. 2016 to “get behind the (United Nations) Sustainable Development Goals” that address the root causes of poverty including environmental abuse and the universal need for development that works for all people and creation; and

3. The plea from a group of Anglican Bishops gathered near Cape Town in February 2015 viz. “We call for a review of our churches’ investment practices with a view to supporting environmental sustainability and justice by divesting from industries involved primarily in the extraction or distribution of fossil fuels”; and

4. Experience of work undertaken in the Dioceses of Ottawa, Montreal, Huron and Quebec which through strategic divestment or re-investment have led these bodies to significantly re-align their investment practices with their faith convictions; and

5. As members of the Anglican Church of Canada we recognize the right to decent work (Sustainable Development Goal #8) and look for the well-being of those workers transitioning to sustainable jobs throughout Canada with unique needs; and

6. The principle of free, prior and informed consent in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (Anglican policy -- 2010 General Synod resolution A176; 2013 Joint Declaration; TRC Call to Action 48), and the June 26, 2014 Supreme Court of Canada Tsilhqot’in Aboriginal Title decision, the first time in Canadian history that a court has declared Aboriginal title to lands outside of a reserve; and

7. A mandate for such a group could well include among other things, consideration of justice for non-human creation, the interests of future generations of humanity, and support for environmental sustainability and justice; and

8. Suggest a membership reporting to the Primate and the Council of General Synod as follows:

The General Secretary
A member of the Investment Committee
A member of the Financial Management Committee
An administrator and a member of the General Synod Pension Plan
Two members of the PWSEJ/Creation Matters team
At least two persons who are Indigenous
A theological resource person
An investment professional
A representative from a diocese directly affected by changing economic realities
A representative from a diocese above with experience in divestment
A representative from a diocese or institution that has chosen not to divest from fossil fuels.

9. Suggest that through an existing formal relationship with the Anglican Church of Canada that SHARE provide support to the task force proposed above.

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