In June 2014 the General Assembly of the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations passed a resolution regarding divestment from the fossil fuel industry, specifically and exclusively the 200 Carbon Tracker Initiative companies. The Unitarian Universalist Church of Boulder is fully in support of this resolution, knowing that the widely accepted scientific consensus is that the ecosystems and human societies of the Earth are powerfully threatened by climate changes driven by greenhouse gas pollution, which derives predominantly from the burning of fossil fuels. Despite the urgent and imperative need for radical reduction of fossil fuel use, American and multinational corporations owning coal, oil, and natural gas deposits plan to continue business as usual, which is leading to increased production, not reduction, of dangerous greenhouse gases.
Our church has historically acted upon our Seventh Principle “respect for the interdependent web of all existence” by recycling and composting, making our building more energy efficient, installing solar panels, sponsoring a local community garden, working towards Green Sanctuary certification, working to impact public policy that will reduce our nation’s use of fossil fuels, and seeking to reduce our carbon footprint, individually and collectively.
In this church year, the Unitarian Universalist Church of Boulder has embraced our Climate Action Ministry as our all-church social change focus. The ministry has been working to educate the congregation and taking action to impact climate change. We wish to continue to align our practices and actions with our religious values, to honor the part of our UUCB mission that is committed to “actively promoting Unitarian Universalist values here and in the wider world” and to honor our simple church focus of deepening faith, living well, and enacting justice. We also wish to align our investment practices with our religious values.
The divestment movement is not a financial fight against fossil fuel companies; it is a campaign to win the hearts and minds of society to stand up for what is right. It is our hope that our divestment from fossil fuels along with other institutions will lead to the societal awareness and then societal will to act to ultimately gain the political will to make the significant changes required to address climate change.
The Unitarian Universalist Association became the first faith community to embrace divestment, closely followed by the World Council of Churches. We are joining with at least 24 other UU congregations to date who have committed to divestment. Many universities including our own University of Colorado at Boulder have been in the news lately for their student protests on this issue. The city of Boulder committed to divest in 2013 along with 9 other U.S. cities. Even the Rockefeller Foundation, founded on Standard Oil, has joined. You can check the list of institutions involved in this growing movement at www.gofossilfree.org/
UUCB discussions began last fall to explore the possibilities, with a variety of views and perspectives shared between the Endowment Committee, divestment team members of the Climate Action Ministry, our minister, and members of the Board. In April, the Board passed a resolution in support of divestment over the next four years:
Following the lead of the UUA, we, the Unitarian Universalist Church of Boulder, hereby resolve to divest from fossil fuel corporations. We do not currently and will not in the future invest directly in the 200 major fossil fuel companies listed in the Carbon Underground 200. Additionally, we will divest from funds that contain Carbon Underground 200 companies. Our goal is to be fully divested by June 2019.
As all of the church’s investments are currently held in the Endowment Fund, the Endowment Committee will be primarily responsible for the divestment process. The Endowment Committee will manage the divestment process in a way that enables the committee to meet their fiduciary responsibilities and goals as the managers of the Endowment Fund. The Endowment Committee will report divestment progress to the Board of Trustees annually.