Legislation

The United Methodist Church has acknowledged the risks of of fossil fuel dependence for the last 35 years through its Energy Policy Statement in the Book of Resolutions, resolution 1001. The investment policy goals of The United Methodist Church as outlined in the Book of Resolutions, resolution 4071 include investing in corporations, companies, institutions or funds making a positive contribution to the realization of the goals outlined in the Social Principles and the Book of Resolutions, and exclude investing in companies that violate church values. The Social Principles state that climate change will bring “severe environmental, economic, and social implications,” which will “disproportionately affect individuals and nations least responsible for the emissions."

The General Board of Pension and Health Benefits (GBOPHB) manages $21 billion in assets on behalf of United Methodist clergy, staff, agencies, churches, and other institutions. The GBOPHB maintains significant holdings in petroleum and natural gas companies. While shareholder advocacy can be effective in pressuring industries to change practices, it cannot change fossil fuel companies’ core business model, which is to produce fossil fuels. Fossil fuel companies are spending up to $600 billion each year to seek additional reserves while governments worldwide spend another $600 billion each year subsidizing fossil fuel consumption.

The processes and byproducts related to the extraction of petroleum, coal and natural gas are damaging to the health of people who work in these industries as well as those who live on or near extraction sites. The extraction and burning of fossil fuels exacerbates climate change. Limiting the warming of the earth to 2-degrees Celsius, the internationally agreed upon limit for human survival, requires that the vast majority of the world’s fossil fuels be left in the ground. Avoiding the worst impacts of climate change urgently requires a transition to sustainable energy.

United Methodists live and serve on the front lines of disasters like Hurricane Sandy, Typhoon Haiyan, prolonged droughts, devastating floods, massive wildfires, and other extreme weather events, which will increase in frequency and severity with climate change. Continued investment in fossil fuel companies undermines The United Methodist Church’s ministries to the most vulnerable among us--including those who are hungry, sick and/or living in poverty. Continued investment in fossil fuel companies signals a grave disregard for the lives of young people.

Therefore, Fossil Free UMC recommends the following petitions for General Conference 2016:

Create a Fossil Fuel Investment Screen

Be it resolved that the General Conference of The United Methodist Church petitions the General Board of Pension and Health Benefits of The United Methodist Church to adopt the following policy: Investments shall not knowingly be made in any company or entity whose core business activity involves the production of petroleum or natural gas. Core business activity refers to a company's primary, or central focus of activity and is an essential element in the company's economic success. A "core business" is one that accounts for 10% or more of a company's revenue derived from the objectionable products and/or services.

Avoid Investment in the Production of Petroleum, Coal and Natural Gas

Be it resolved that the Book of Discipline para. 717 be amended as follows:

It shall be the policy of The United Methodist Church that all general boards and agencies, including the General Board of Pension and Health Benefits, and all administrative agencies and institutions, including hospitals, homes, educational institutions, annual conferences, foundations, and local churches, shall, in the investment of money, make a conscious effort to invest in institutions, companies, corporations, or funds whose practices are consistent with the goals outlined in the Social Principles; and shall endeavor to avoid investments that appear likely, directly or indirectly, to support racial discrimination, violation of human rights, sweatshop or forced labor, gambling, or the production of petroleum, coal, natural gas, nuclear armaments, alcoholic beverages or tobacco, or companies dealing in pornography. The boards and agencies are to give careful consideration to shareholder advocacy, including advocacy of corporate disinvestment.

Do Not Invest in Petroleum, Coal or Natural Gas

Be it resolved that the Book of Resolutions, resolution 4071, Socially Responsible Investing Strategies, 1. Portfolio screening, be amended as follows:

Socially Responsible Investing Strategies

The Church shall pursue its investment policy goals through widely practiced socially responsible investing tools such as:

1. Portfolio screening

Based on long-standing United Methodist values, the Church does not invest in companies deriving significant revenue (usually 10 percent or more) from:

  • alcoholic beverages

  • tobacco products;

  • gambling equipment or enterprises;

  • pornography;

  • operating or managing prison facilities;

  • the production of coal, oil, or natural gas;

  • antipersonnel weapons, armaments, ammunition, or weapons-related systems provided for commercial and private markets and nuclear weapons.

 

Fossil Free UMC Petitions in the Advanced Daily Christian Advocate

General Administration has 3 similar petitions adding screen language to ¶717 in Book of Discipline "Socially Responsible Investments"

Financial Administration has 1 petition calling for the GBPHB to instate fossil fuel screens and 3 similar petitions adding screen language to R4071 in Book of Resolutions "Investment Ethics"

General Administration Committee

3 petitions add screen language to ¶717 in Book of Discipline "Socially Responsible Investments"

  • Petition Number: 60174-GA-¶717-G
    Page 801
    • Submitted by: Aspey, Amy - Worthington, OH, USA for West Ohio Annual Conference. Bartlett, Laura Jaquith - Eagle Creek, OR, USA for Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference. Beard, Janet - Minneapolis, MN, USA for Minnesota Annual Conference. DeLarme, Shirley - Port Orchard, WA, USA for Pacific Northwest Annual Conference. Hodge, Jeff - Syracuse, NY, USA for Upper New York Annual Conference. Howe, Margaret - New Paltz, NY, USA for New York Annual Conference. Nakanishi, Leanne - Pasadena, CA, USA for California-Pacific Annual Conference. Oduor, Ralph R.R. - Lawrence, MA, USA for New England Annual Conference. Ryder, Jack E. - LaGrange Park, IL, USA for Northern Illinois Annual Conference.
  • Petition Number: 60200-GA-¶717-G
    Page 801
    • Submitted by: Sachen, Kristin L. - Nevada City, CA, USA for California-Nevada Annual Conference.
  • Petition Number: 60304-GA-¶717-G
    Page 801-802
    • Submitted by: Kemper, Thomas - New York, NY, USA for General Board of Global Ministries.

Financial Administration Committee

1 petition for GC to direct GBPHB to adopt fossil fuel screens
Heading is "Petroleum and Natural Gas Investment Policy"

  • Petition Number: 60759-FA-NonDis-G
    Page 729
    •  
    • Petition Number: 60759-FA-NonDis-G; Nakanishi, Leanne - Pasadena, CA, USA for California-Pacific Annual Conference. Aspey, Amy - Worthington, OH, USA for West Ohio Annual Conference. Bartlett, Laura Jaquith - Eagle Creek, OR, USA for Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference. Beard, Janet - Minneapolis, MN, USA for Minnesota Annual Conference. DeLarme, Shirley 
    • - Port Orchard, WA, USA for Pacific Northwest Annual Conference. Hodge, Jeff - Syracuse, NY, USA for Upper New York Annual Conference. Howe, Margaret - New Paltz, NY, USA for New York Annual Conference. Ryder, Jack E. - LaGrange Park, IL, USA for Northern Illinois Annual Conference. 2

3 petitions add screen language to R4071 in Book of Resolutions "Investment Ethics"

  • Petition Number: 60175-FA-R4071-G
    Page 735-736
    • Submitted by: Aspey, Amy - Worthington, OH, USA for West Ohio Annual Conference. Bartlett, Laura Jaquith - Eagle Creek, OR, USA for Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference. Beard, Janet - Minneapolis, MN, USA for Minnesota Annual Conference. DeLarme, Shirley - Port Orchard, WA, USA for Pacific Northwest Annual Conference. Hodge, Jeff - Syracuse, NY, USA for Upper New York Annual Conference. Howe, Margaret - New Paltz, NY, USA for New York Annual Conference. Nakanishi, Leanne - Pasadena, CA, USA for California-Pacific Annual Conference. Ryder, Jack E. - LaGrange Park, IL, USA for Northern Illinois Annual Conference
  • Petition Number: 60201-FA-R4071-G
    Page 736
    • Submitted by: Sachen, Kristin L. - Nevada City, CA, USA for California-Nevada Annual Conference.
  • Petition Number: 60316-FA-R4071-G
    Page 736
    • Submitted by: Kemper, Thomas - New York, NY, USA for General Board of Global Ministrie