Quakers Campaign for Ethical Investing

- Posted by Quaker Earthcare Witness in ActivismDivestmentRenewable Energy,  | 5 min read
Photo by Rachael Warriner

“As people of diverse faiths and spiritualities, we call on the world’s asset managers to stop financing the profoundly immoral destruction of our climate.”

-the rev. abby mohaupt, GreenFaith

People of faith, environmental groups, and frontline communities and organizations are uniting to call on financial institutions to “stop the money pipeline” and stop funding and investing in fossil fuels.  We know that we must limit fossil fuel projects immediately to make a livable future possible—asset managers and banks play a crucial role.

Quaker Earthcare Witness is supporting Earth Quaker Action Team (EQAT)’s Vanguard S.O.S. campaign to pressure the Vanguard Investments Group to divest from fossil fuels. Vanguard is the world’s biggest investor in coal and one of the two biggest investors in gas and oil. 

Vanguard must:

  • Use its power and influence as a shareholder to push the companies it currently invests in to do better on climate
  • Offer climate-responsible funds as a default to its customers
  • Exit its investments in fossil fuels projects and companies

Why focus on climate finance? The Sunrise Project says:

“Shifting finance has emerged as a key strategy in the global effort to transition from fossil fuels to clean energy. Policies adopted by financial institutions to limit support for fossil fuels are having a direct impact in the real economy, driving up the cost of capital and shifting the cost/benefit equation for new projects. To a significant extent, the availability and cost of finance and other financial services will determine whether the pipeline of new fossil fuel projects is built and how quickly existing infrastructure is retired.”

Take Action with EQAT in Philadelphia

EQAT writes: “As part of a global week of climate action by people of faith, we will be worshiping outside the home of Vanguard CEO Tim Buckley. Open to people of all beliefs but grounded in Quaker silent worship, we will sincerely pray for the millions of people already suffering from climate destruction, for leaders like Tim Buckley to act boldly to prevent more suffering, and for our own courage as we seek to pressure Vanguard to change course.

This is also the 250th anniversary of the death of Quaker abolitionist John Woolman, who was willing to take actions that were uncomfortable, including visiting people at their homes, when that was what he felt Spirit calling him to do.

Learn More about the Vanguard S.O.S Campaign & EQAT's Upcoming Plans October 3

Join Earth Quaker Action Team’s Director of Strategy and Partnership, Eileen Flanagan, and one of EQAT’s founders and board members, Carolyn McCoy, for a Zoom conversation to learn about EQAT’s experience and philosophy of “worship in action” and how this led them to their upcoming meeting for worship outside the home of Vanguard CEO Tim Buckley. This is the latest action as part of their campaign to pressure Vanguard, the world’s second largest asset manager, to end its investments in fossil fuels projects and companies. This will be a great conversation for anyone yearning for deeper Quaker faith in action.

Quaker Earthcare Witness Online Meeting for Worship in Solidarity October 7

On October 7th at 11:30am EST, Quaker Earthcare Witness will be hosting an online meeting for worship in solidarity with EQAT’s on-the-ground meeting for worship. We’ll share more about the campaign, how you can get involved, and then “gather” for worship.

Why Join the Campaign

Jonathan Ogle, a high school teacher and EQAT board member, writes:

As part of the international Vanguard’s Very Big Problem Campaign, EQAT aims to get Vanguard to use its leverage as a massive shareholder and investor to support climate action, not continued destruction. Vanguard can begin immediately with voting for pro-climate shareholder resolutions and pressuring companies across the board to develop aggressive climate plans which prioritize human rights and indigenous rights.

Currently a laggard in environmental, social, and governance (ESG) offerings, they need to make fossil fuel screened ESG funds their default offering. Finally, they should implement an exit strategy to divest from fossil fuels and other companies that are not committing to acting now on climate change.

Vanguard has built their $8 trillion business out of the retirement savings of millions of people earning a middle class income, yet they are using that money in ways that damage frontline communities, fuel climate change, and destroy the future the company claims to be helping people save for. Whether we live next to an incinerator or pipeline or far from one, whether we have a retirement account with Vanguard or are barely making ends meet, we all have a stake in the future Vanguard is destroying.

In my life, I have found myself attracted to growing food, reducing my personal waste, imagining myself living a life of material simplicity. But taking care of this precious Earth requires us to not ignore the money. If the asset managers redirect their investments, massive streams of money can be diverted away from climate chaos now.”

"Climate Distruction Happens Here"
EQAT members visit Covanta incinerator in Chester, PA, a project funded by Vanguard.

Watch: An Intro to EQAT's Vanguard S.O.S. Campaign

In April, Eileen Flanagan and Ingrid Lakey of Earth Quaker Action Team joined Quaker Earthcare Witness’ Steering Committee to share about climate finance, the Vanguard S.O.S. campaign, and how Friends can get involved.