Go Fossil Free Collectively

This campaign encourages religious instituions to divest from fossil fuels.
Go Fossil Free collectively.


Go Fossil Free collectively. Our religious traditions remind us of our responsibility to care for the earth as a precious gift. If we want to protect life on earth, we must move quickly to renewable energy and leave most of our coal, oil and gas in the ground. Instead, Australia is one of the most carbon-intensive economies in the world. Our religious institutions can play a powerful role in moving Australia’s economy out of fossil fuels and into clean energy, as demonstrated by the recent resoution passed by the NSW/ACT Synod of the Uniting Church. Your faith community, place of worship or religious institution can join the Uniting Church! Infact, ARRCC has also recently switched to BankMECU from our previous bank to ensure that our money is being used ethically and for the good of the planet. Read ARRCC’s short background paper on Going Fossil Free, then check out below the ways you can get involved!

ARRCC encourages any individual or organization to divest in the same way the Uniting Church Synod NSW/ACT has decided to divest. Your Denomination, Religious Order, Foundation, Theological College or other religious body could pass a resolution instructing your asset managers to:
• Place an immediate prohibition on loans to new fossil fuel extraction projects and the infrastructure required to enable them, and
• Sell down all stakes held either directly or through third parties in companies engaged in fossil fuel extraction.
Organisations and individuals can switch Bank or Super Fund, but remember it’s important to let your old institution know why you are moving your savings!

Banks/Funds without fossil fuel investments
Below is a list of companies which do not allow assets to be used for fossil fuel extraction:
• Australian Ethical
• Bendigo Bank
• BankMECU

This list may be incomplete. ARRCC has recently written to the heads of the major banks in Australia asking them to confirm their position so that we can add them to our list. If you know more, please let us know! It must be understood, we are not providing financial advice here. We are suggesting these institutions on purely ethical grounds. The performance impacts from refraining from investing in fossil fuels are another matter, but are not necessarily negative. For this information, we suggest you make your own enquiries.

Divestment is not the only strategy available to achieve the desired goals. There is also:
• Shareholder advocacy
• Civil disobedience

Fossil fuel companies themselves have shown themselves to be unscrupulous and will be intransigent in response to shareholder advocacy. The experience of the Christian Brothers Investment Services in North America bears this out. Their long-time efforts to persuade Exxon Mobile to adopt quantitative goals to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions have been unsuccessful, despite their shareholder resolution receiving support from 26.5% of shareholders at the last annual meeting. However, advocacy from shareholders or customers of banks or super funds stands a much better chance of being successful. Religious people could join the push within Australian civil society. See http://maths.350.org/australia or contact [email protected]

Write to your bank or super fund
ARRCC has a model letter and the names and addresses of the CEO’s of most of Australia’s banks with investments in fossil fuels. For those who want to ask more detailed questions of the managers of Super Funds, Banks, Insurance Companies, these are suggested:
• Regarding your concern to invest ethically, what kinds of activities does your fund actively screen out?
• Do you have stewardship policies that guide investment decisions regarding (a) coal mining (b) coal seam gas exploration and extraction (c) infrastructure to support coalmining and export (d) infrastructure to support CSG exploration, extraction and export?
• Have you integrated into your accounting the risks of exposure to a financial carbon bubble, ie, the potential rapid devaluation of assets in the event that serious efforts are made to achieve the internationally agreed goal of staying under 2 degrees of warming?
• If your fund does not have stewardship policies regarding investments in fossil fuel extraction, do you intend to introduce such policies in the future?

Organise Petitions
ARRCC has some hard copy petition sheets for those who prefer this medium: ANZ | Commonwealth | NAB | Westpac | Other

Encourage members to use online tools
Using an online tool of The Vital Few – a campaign of the US-based Asset Owners Disclosure Project – those interested can ask their superannuation fund where their money is being invested. Similarly, Market Forces – a project of Friends of the Earth – has an online tool for lobbying the 4 big Banks. See Go Fossil Free individually for more information.

Note: This descriptive text was copied from the Campaign's website. Some website links may no longer be active.

Campaign Details

Group Leading this Campaign: Australian Religious Response to Climate Change

Main Issue of the Campaign:

Campaign Ran From: 2013 to 2015

Campaign Outcome:

Year Outcome Assessed:

Geographic Range of Activity:


Go Fossil Free Collectively