Several Catholic institutions in Asia have joined the growing number of faith-based groups that have committed to divest from fossil fuels and champion “ethical investment.”
This week, 47 church-based organizations have announced their divestment from dirty energy sources including Caritas Asia and the Claretian Missionaries in Sri Lanka.
In a statement, the Global Catholic Climate Movement – Asia said the announcement was the first since the Vatican issued an “operational guidance” on the environment in May.
The guidelines titled “Journeying Towards Care For Our Common Home, Five Years After Laudato si” aim to encourage Catholics “to avoid investing in companies that harm human or social ecology or environmental ecology.”
There are already about 400 faith-based institutions that have divested from fossil fuels since the global divestment campaign was launched.
“We celebrate that Catholic institutions around the world are implementing the Vatican’s guidelines on divestment from fossil fuels,” said Father Augusto Zampini-Davies, adjunct secretary of the Vatican’s Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development.
He said the move of 47 church institutions to divest from dirty energy “demonstrates that people of faith have both the wisdom and the courage to act.”
“The future of our economy is in clean energy, and the Catholic commitment is clear. We invite governments to join us in urgent, ambitious action to protect our common home,” said the priest in a statement.
Bishop Gerardo Alminaza, convener of the Withdraw From Coal Coalition in the Philippines, called on Church institutions and the private sector to “engage their banks and urge them to divest from coal and invest in renewable energy.”
In October, the country’s Energy department announced the Philippines is not anymore accepting new applications for coal power plants to help build a more sustainable power system in the country.
The new policy, however, opened foreign ownership of large-scale geothermal exploration, development, and utilization projects.