PCUSA Assembly Places Five Companies in Divestment/Proscription List

Aaron Echart, vice moderator of PCUSA’s Environmental Justice Committee


The General Assembly of the Presbiterian Church (PCUSA) has said NO TO FRACKING and to new pipelines. It was decided to dnvest in five companies that have not shown willingness to allign with the measures required to stop climate change. Such companies are Chevron, ExxonMobil, Marathon Petroleum, Phillips 66 and Valero Energy. This is the fisrt time a divestment gets positive votes pursuant to the environment policy of the General Assembly.

The divestment received 340 votes in favor and 41 against i ton Wednesday. The commissionates of the 225th General Assembly voted to place five energy companies – Chevron, ExxonMobil, Marathon Petroleum, Phillips 66 and Valero Energy- in the Divestment/Proscription list of the Assembly “until their actions comply with the criterio established by it.”

“This motion gives support to selective divestment” stated Aaron Ochart, vice-moderator of the Environmental Justice Committee, who had previously passed ENV-10 at a voting sesión which resulted 30-7. We listened to those who thought this was going too far, and those who tought it was not going far enough.”

According to ENV-10 the metrics of guidelines used by Responsibility of the Mission through investment, which promotes the goals of the Presbiterian Church (USA) trhough socially-resposible investment, are used “as an effort to improve governance, stratefy, implementation, transparency and communication of companies and public policies regarding climate change.”

Rob Fohr, director of the Office of Faith-Based Investing and Corporate Engagement of the PC (USA) said during the last years working as par of the Climate Action 100+, an initiative run by investors to guarantee that the main contaminating emissions producers take the necessary measures about climate change, “we have witnessed enormous progress.” He said that the vote on divestment represents “the biggest block of companies that MRTI has recommended since the Aparheid.”

Reverend Dr. Tom Taylor, president and CEO of the Presbiterian Foundation, said to commissionates and deputy asessors that it is “imposible to know” at this point what impact the divestment Will have in finance. He said that the Union Committee “has never stopped divesting” once the Assembly has ordered to do so. “As soon as posible, we will leave it behind,” Taylor said about any investment made in the five companies.

Actions in support to the energetic transition

The commissionates passed ENV-09, on Actions in Support of an Energetic Transition with a result of 345-40. But they didn’t pass, with a result of 197-186, an ammendment that allegedly “called to retire all investments of IP (USA) in industries that contribute to the emissions of the two main contaminating gases (CO2 and methane)” using the Carbon Underground 200  and another companies list.

The voting followed a long and passionate debate. “it’s a reflexión on how we fight with our common goa lof making a better world” co-moderator Ruth Santana-Grace said.

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