Consider Divestment from the Fossil Fuel Industry 2013 Action of Immediate Witness

BECAUSE the Sources of Unitarian Universalism counsel us to heed the guidance of reason and the results of science;

BECAUSE Unitarian Universalist congregations covenant, in their Seventh Principle, to respect the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part, and member congregations have demonstrated their commitment to this Principle in various ways, including by Green Sanctuary certification;

BECAUSE the 2006 Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) Statement of Conscience calls on Unitarian Universalist congregations to “[u]se congregational financial resources to positively address the global warming/climate change crisis”; and

BECAUSE the “UUA Socially Responsible Investment Guidelines” (2008) state that investments in companies engaged in negative global impact activities are to be avoided;

WHEREAS, we understand our lives are tied up in the consumption of energy;

WHEREAS, the fossil fuel industry currently controls fossil fuel reserves that, if burned, will produce more than five times the amount of greenhouse gas emissions required to raise global temperatures beyond 2º C, the level that leaders of 167 countries, including the United States, have agreed represents a threshold beyond which civilization cannot survive without enormous suffering;

WHEREAS, the global and growing movement is calling upon universities, pension funds, public entities, and religious institutions to divest their investments in 200 fossil fuel companies;

WHEREAS, further information and discussion regarding the divestment movement in UUA congregations is available at Unitarian Universalists for Fossil Fuel Divestment or by email at; and

WHEREAS, given the reality of climate change, passively profiting from business as usual in carbon-intensive fossil fuel companies is an abdication of our responsibility and thus morally wrong;

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the 2013 General Assembly of the Unitarian Universalist Association calls upon delegates to begin a denomination-wide conversation within their congregations about divesting from fossil fuels or exercising shareholder influence. Congregations might discuss the following:

  1. Stopping any new direct investments in fossil fuel companies, as listed in Carbon Tracker reports;
  2. Divesting of all direct securities holdings in fossil fuel companies within the next five years;
  3. Investing in diversified, socially responsible, and climate-friendly securities, and securities in the renewable energy and efficiency sector;
  4. Investing in making their own facilities more energy efficient, make widespread use of renewable energy, adopt conservation and efficiency measures;
  5. Evaluating the effectiveness of shareholder advocacy; and
  6. Retaining the option of owning the minimum number of shares necessary to be an activist shareholder. These shares would be considered “influence payments” and not investments.