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GA Divestment Overture

Excerpted from https://www.pc-biz.org/#/committee/569/business

NOTE: This is the original overture 09-01, passed by 31 presbyteries
and by the GA Committee on Immigration and Environment:

The Presbytery of San Francisco overtures the 222nd General Assembly
(2016) to:

1. Express its profound concern about the destructive effects of climate
change on all God’s creation, including a disproportionate impact on those
living in poverty and in the least developed countries; the elderly and
children; and those least responsible for the emissions of greenhouse
gases. The 222nd General Assembly (2016) thus recognizes the moral
mandate for humanity to shift to a sustainable energy regime in a way that
is both just and compassionate. This mandate compels us to action as a
denomination to divest from the fossil fuel industry even as we reduce our
use of fossil fuels and shrink our carbon footprint.
2. Call upon the Board of Pensions and the Presbyterian Church (USA)
Foundation to:
a. Immediately stop any new direct investment in fossil fuel companies
b. Work to ensure that within three years, none of the Board’s or the
Foundation’s directly held or commingled assets includes holdings of
either equities or corporate bonds in the fossil fuel companies
identified in the Carbon Underground 200 list[1] by:
i. Working with current and prospective asset managers to develop and
implement institutional fossil free investment options
ii. Establishing within one year fossil free investment options for fund
iii. Actively seeking out and investing in renewable and energy efficiency
related securities
iv. Notwithstanding the above provisions, retaining or acquiring minimal
sufficient investment in fossil fuel companies to participate in
shareholder engagement activities
v. Notwithstanding the above provisions, taking no action inconsistent with
fiduciary duty or principles of sound investment, including the
real and substantial risk of stranded carbon assets
c. Incorporate into public financial reports regular updates detailing
progress made towards these ends
3. Call upon the Stated Clerk of the PC(USA) to inform affected fossil fuel
companies and the larger public of the passage and implementation of this
4. Call upon, and provide instructional materials to assist all levels of the
denomination (presbyteries, congregations, and individual members) in
taking action to slow climate change, including: divestment of fossil fuel
holdings; shareholder activism; investments in renewable energy; advocacy
at local, state, and federal levels for policies to reduce greenhouse gas
emissions; and local efforts to reduce carbon footprint consistent with the
2006 call[2] for denominational carbon neutrality, and the 2008 “Power to
Change” recommendations.[3]
[1] http://fossilfreeindexes.com/the-carbon-underground-2014/ or current
equivalent (accessed 06-17-2015)
[2] http://www.pcusa.org/resource/guide-going-carbon-neutral/ (accessed
ort.pdf (accessed 06-17-2015)

This is the version passed in Plenary of GA2016

1. Requests the Board of Pensions, the Presbyterian Foundation, and the
Presbyterian Investment and Loan Program, Inc., to consider an
increasingly more diversified energy sector in their overall investment
portfolios, which would increase exposure to potentially profitable
alternative energy companies and/or companies with an active interest in
changing the consumer market’s energy demand (e.g. automobile
companies producing alternatively powered vehicles).
2. Directs MRTI to pursue its focused engagement process on climate
change issues with all corporations, particularly with those in the oil, gas,
and coal sectors, and report back to the 223rd General Assembly (2018)
with recommendations, including possible selective divestment if significant
changes in governance, strategy, implementation, transparency and
disclosure, and public policy are not instituted by the corporations during
the engagements of MRTI and ecumenical partners.
3. Directs the Stated Clerk of the PC(USA) to inform the denomination and
the larger public of the passage and implementation of this overture