Church of England criticized for investments

Ekklesia says the Church of England has been criticized three times in four days for its investments practices.

The first report deals with Royal Dutch Shell in which the Church has £103.7 million invested:

A new Amnesty International report says that the company in which the Church of England has its biggest shareholding is responsible for bringing impoverishment, conflict, human rights abuses and despair to the majority of the people in the oil-producing areas of the Niger Delta.

Royal Dutch Shell, in which the Church has an investment of £103.7 million and from which it seeks to profit according to its latest annual report, has brought pollution and environmental damage to the region through its subsidiary company, Shell. Amnesty says that rights to health and a healthy environment, to an adequate standard of living (including the right to food and water) and to gaining a living through work, have been violated for hundreds of thousands of people.

Published on Tuesday, the report, Petroleum, Pollution and Poverty in the Niger Delta, also details how the Nigerian government is failing to hold oil companies to account for the pollution they have caused.

“Oil companies have been exploiting Nigeria’s weak regulatory system for too long,” said Audrey Gaughran of Amnesty International. “They do not adequately prevent environmental damage and they frequently fail to properly address the devastating impact that their bad practice has on people’s lives.”

The Church of England has invested £27.5 million in Tesco, Britain’s largest retailer:

(T)he charity War on Want has cited research revealing that employees work up to 80 hours a week making Tesco clothes in the Bangladeshi capital Dhaka for as little as 1663 taka (£14) a month.

Employees calculate that a worker needs £44.82 (5333 taka) a month to give their family nutritious food, clean water, shelter, clothes, education, health care and transport.

In the three Tesco factories researched, average pay, £20 (2280 taka) a month, is less than half a living wage.

Ekklesia says that the Guardian reported on the Church of England’s £17.2 million investment in ExxonMobil:

Yesterday, the Guardian newspaper revealed that Exxon Mobil, in which the Church of England has a shareholding valued at £17.2 million, is continuing to fund lobby groups which question the reality of global warming, despite a public pledge to cut support for such climate change denial. On Tuesday, campaigners announced that the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) would be the subject of a legal action after it was was linked to climate change and human rights violations. The Church has a £8.4 million stake in RBS.

Read more here and here. See also the Ekklesia report “Where is the Church of England’s Heart Invested?” here.

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