Church of England no longer believes in oil and gas as Shell is dumped
The Church of England Pensions Board is offloading its stake in oil giant Shell as the pension giant is looking to end all of its interests in the oil & gas sector.
A lack of progress on addressing climate issues has been the decisive factor for the decision, according to John Ball, chief executive officer of the Church of England Pensions Board.
"It’s now clear that Shell and a number of its peers don’t have sufficient ambition to decarbonize in line with the aims of the Paris Agreement,” Ball wrote in an email earlier today.
Shell confirmed recently that it plans to increase its investments in oil & gas. The company assured shareholders it can still meet its target to eliminate emissions by 2050, although the multinational failed to explain how.
The decision to completely divest is seen as an exceptional move by the Church of England Pensions Board, as it usually prefers to engage with its investee companies, rather than exit altogether.
The fund's current stakes in Shell are fairly modest, around £1.35 million across equity and debt, and roughly £7 million in equity and debt across other oil and gas companies.
Ball noted that “there is a significant misalignment between the long term interests of our pension fund and continued investment in companies seeking short term profit maximization at the expense of the ambition needed to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement."
“Recent reversals of previous commitments, most notably by BP and Shell, has undermined confidence in the sector’s ability to transition," he concluded.