In line with their mission, the Maine Council of Churches Executive Committee has just decided that they will limit their investments to funds which are free of the top 200 publicly traded fossil fuel companies that hold large reserves of coal, oil, and gas.
“This is incredible news,” said 350 Maine representative Read Brugger. “We are proud that Maine is continuing to help lead the way in the movement to divest from fossil fuels. The Maine Legislature is also moving forward on a proposal to incorporate environmental, societal governance into a checklist of factors to consider when the Maine Public Employees Retirement System makes investments, divests, or votes proxies, showing that we have momentum on our side.”
The Maine Council of Churches brings together nine member denominations, to inspire congregations and persons of faith to unite in good works that build a culture of justice, compassion and peace.
At a meeting in January, the Policy Committee of the MCC, along with representatives from 350 Maine and Maine Interfaith Power & Light, discussed fossil fuel divestment. The Policy Committee voted to recommend that the MCC examine their own investments to see if they had any exposure to fossil fuels. When forwarded to the MCC Finance and Executive Committees, they discovered their recommendation came at a particularly opportune time: until now the MCC has kept their assets in savings and CD’s, and are just starting to invest their funds.
Here is what the MCC Executive Committee decided:
The Council is invested equally in five funds, all of which seek to exclude the top 200 fossil fuel companies.
- CRA Qualified Investment Fund Institutional Shares: a fixed income, intermediate-term investment grade fund that invests in securities that support community development activities, including affordable housing for low-to-moderate individuals. It also seeks to invest for capital preservation.
- PAX World High Yield Bond Fund: The funds primary objective is to invest for high current Income. Its secondary objective is to seek capital appreciation. The fund will invest in bonds that are not Investment grade.
- PAX World Growth Fund: Seeks to invest in domestic large cap companies with sustainable environmental, social and governance business models that offer above-average long-term growth of capital.
- PAX World International Fund: Seeks to invest in international companies with sustainable environmental, social and governance business models that offer above-average long-term growth of capital.
- Calvert Global Water Fund: Seeks growth of capital through investment in companies whose main business is significantly involved in water related services or technologies.
As is evident from the MCC’s new investment policy, not only are they staying away from fossil fuels, they are focusing on specific areas of the market that are more heavily weighted on environmental factors. They have taken up the call to use their funds for positive change.
Maine Council of Churches member denominations:
The New England Conference of the United Methodist Church
The Unitarian Universalist Association
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland
The Religious Society of Friends (Quakers)
The Episcopal Diocese of Maine
The Maine Association of the Church of New Jerusalem
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
The Maine Conference United Church of Christ
The Northern New England Presbytery