NCVO, the charity membership body, has launched a campaign that encourages charities to voluntarily divest from fossil fuels.
#FuellingPositiveChange is calling on the charity sector to consider moving investments away from businesses that are involved in the production of fossil fuels such as coal, oil, gas and tar sands.
Nine charities have already signed up to the campaign. These are NCVO, Save the Children UK, Christian Aid, Amnesty International UK, Quakers, Sense International, Friends of the Earth EWNI, Pilotlight and the Civic Power Fund.
Save the Children UK received a rise in complaints last financial year, partly due to its decision to decline a £750,000 gift from fossil fuel company Neptune Energy.
Gwen Hines, chief executive of Save the Children UK, said: “We’re calling for a greener, better future for children. For Save the Children UK, this also means considering how we are contributing to the harm being done, and what we must do to stop it. By acting now and acting together, we can create a better world for children everywhere.”
NCVO, which divested from direct fossil fuels earlier this year, said fossil fuels are the largest contributor to global climate change, accounting for over 75% of global greenhouse gas emissions.
The #FuellingPositiveChange campaign is calling on charities to sign up to its pledge for a fossil-free future.
Charities that do not have investments directly or indirectly in fossil fuels are also encouraged to sign up, in the promise that they will not invest in them in the future.
NCVO: ‘We can use the combined power of our investments to make a difference’
Alex Farrow, director of influencing and engagement at NCVO, said: “The climate emergency is an urgent and serious threat to all of us. So far charities have played a leading role in tackling this crisis – from campaigning for more environmental protection to supporting communities displaced by floods and wildfires.
“But we’ve got to do more – and we can. We can use the combined power of our investments to make a real difference now.
“Whatever our charitable objectives, the impacts of climate change will make everything harder. This campaign is a rallying cry for our sector to take collective action on one of the biggest challenges we face. Together, we can fuel positive change instead.”
Sense: ‘No charity can exist in a vacuum’
Richard Kramer, chief executive officer of Sense, said: “Sense believes that no charity can exist in a vacuum.
“The way we behave has real-life consequences on the environment both negative and positive. And if we don’t take this into account, and walk the talk, we aren’t getting the full picture. Sense’s vision is to be carbon neutral by 2040.
“We support NCVO’s campaign as sustainability is also about making better and more suitable and ethical investment decisions that reflects the objects of our charity, and is about committing to sustainable practices, in challenging the status quo and pushing for change.”