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Catholic Eco-Investment Accelerator Toolkit

TOOLKIT

 

ACT

Put your planning into motion. This section presents you with multiple tools to activate your new investment strategy and policies.

These steps follow divestment.

There are many ways to tailor an ecological investment strategy. Some, or many of these tools used together, will prove the most effective in achieving your goals.  

Find here:

Questions to bring to your financial advisor

Ideas of where to place your divested assets 

An extensive list of resources which include, downloadable pages to share, places for further learning, and links to professional services  

While you're here, make sure to pledge your intentions to divest from fossil fuel.

Green Energy

 

Pledge Your Intentions

 

Fossil Fuel Divestment Commitment 

Semi-annual divestment announcements have a significant impact on industry and society.

Go Fossil Free Laudato Si’ Movement
Pledge Your Commitment

Make your commitment to divest public with the Laudato Si’ Movement (formerly Global Catholic Climate Movement) or register through Go Fossil Free.

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    When choosing your level of commitment refer to the following criteria:
  • Fossil Free: An institution or corporation that does not have any investments including, direct ownership, shares, commingled mutual funds containing shares, corporate bonds in fossil fuel companies, and is committed to avoiding any fossil fuel investments in the future.
  • Full divestment: A commitment to divest, direct ownership, shares, commingled mutual funds containing shares, corporate bonds, or any assets classes from fossil fuel companies. Especially those listed in the top 200 of The Carbon Underground 200. 
  • Partial divestment: A commitment to divest across asset classes from some fossil fuel companies, especially those listed in the top 200 of The Carbon Underground 200. OR to divest from all fossil fuel companies, but only in specific asset classes (e.g., direct investments, domestic equity). 
  • Divestment from coal and tar sands: A commitment to divest, direct ownership, shares, commingled mutual funds containing shares, corporate bonds, or any asset classes from coal and tar sands companies.
  • Divestment for coal only: A commitment to divest, direct ownership, shares, commingled mutual funds containing shares, corporate bonds, or any asset classes from any coal companies.
  • In the process of divestment: A commitment to keep a minimum amount of investments in fossil fuel companies for the sole purpose of engagement with the commitment to divest if those companies do not meet engagement demands within two years.

 

Note: Your financial information is collected for the purpose of including it in the total amount of all divested assets with each new celebration of global divestment announcements. Your asset information is private unless you give special permission to make it public. For more information contact Svitlana Romanko, Zero Fossil Fuels Campaign Manager, directly at [email protected]

 

Impact Investment Commitment 

Collaboration strengthens the results of impact investing.

Take the Pledge

To commit to employ impact investing visit the Catholic Impact Investing Collaborative (CIIC) and take the Catholic Impact Investing Pledge.

You can connect and work with others in the CIIC network by visiting their Get Involved page.

 

Market Reinvestment

Refer to your investment policy 

Now that you’ve decided to use the power of your investments to further your mission, it’s time to decide where to reinvest your divested funds. Your investment policy will guide the types of investments you chose and will specify which sectors align with your mission’s values. If your policy needs updating, visit step two of our discernment guide.

 

Get to know your advisor 

Once you are clear about your organization's goals, priorities and current finances you are ready to discuss them with your financial advisor. A financial advisor should be open and well-informed about responsible investing and be able to communicate their knowledge clearly. Your advisor should be happy to give you examples and data, and most importantly, they should be willing to help you make investment decisions based on your organization's values and goals. Bring this form with you to ensure your needs can be met. 

Talking to Advisors

Bring these questions with you and add your own when you meet with your advisor to discuss your move to eco-investing.

Print Questions

 

Avenues to consider for Reinvestment

Transitioning our economy to clean energy is one potential goal of ecological investing. To maintain a balanced portfolio, you may wish to reinvest in companies within the Energy sector. To ensure sustainability, look for companies whose primary business model is to expand on renewable energy.   

Consider companies who specialize in solar, wind, geothermal, or tidal energy. These companies offer growth potential, but many do not have decades of market participation, and therefore have shorter historical track records than other energy companies. Ask your financial advisor to help you access alternative screeners as outlined here. 

 

Re-balance your Portfolio

When you re-invest you may find that it is a good time to re-balance your portfolio. Discuss with your financial advisor investments outside of the energy sector.

Visit As You Sow to help you assess North American funds that align with your eco-investment strategy.

 

Impact Investing

Don’t forget that now is the opportunity to make an impact with your investments. Ensure the funds you choose fuel the change you are looking for.

Visit MaRS Centre for Impact Investing to learn more.

 

Non-Market Reinvestment 

If you have divested from fossil fuel and you want to put your money to work outside of the market, there are many options for investing into a greener economy.  

 

Consider Angel Investing 

Angel investors provide capital directly to startup businesses. Angel investing gives you an opportunity to support what you value most by helping young entrepreneurs who are seeking to make a difference. It also lets you stay involved in the business community. You can set up your own program or join established programs that fit with your association’s goals and values. 

  • Visit Angel Investors Ontario to learn about establishing your own angel group.  
  • Explore OIKO to join an established network of angel investors where you can invest in financial inclusion, agriculture programs, and global initiatives to provide access to renewable energy.

 

Limited Partnerships and Venture Capital 

These opportunities involve relatively young companies seeking start-up capital or investment partners to help them grow and expand. This form of investment is for those who want to form a close relationship with a company that aligns with their values.

 

Assess your Building’s Carbon Footprint

We all have a carbon footprint; consider using your divested funds to make your building more efficient. There are many programs to help you do this.  

  • Learn about the Government of Canada initiatives for increasing the energy efficiency of your home Energy efficiency for homes (nrcan.gc.ca)
  • Indigenous Clean Energy is a diverse group of individuals working collaboratively to build a community of practice for Indigenous clean energy projects. 
  • Faith & the Common Good offers free guides such as, “Do-it-yourself" Faith Building Energy Audit Guide and Energy Star® Action Workbook for Congregations. These and other useful guides and tip-sheets are available for download from their website. 
  • Greening Sacred Spaces, Greening Canadian Mosques and Faithful Footprints are programs within Faith & the Common Good designed to help places of worship reduce their carbon footprint. One or several of these programs may be operating in your city. Check out the extensive program offerings.
Steps to Greening

 

Make a Donation 

Every organization is unique with their own values and missions. Now is a great opportunity to re-familiarize yourself with your organization’s mission and invest in that which you value most. Consider using your funds to make a donation to an organization that carries out your mission. 

 

Alternate Actions 

Maybe you’ve decided that you’re not yet ready to divest. You can still participate in other climate actions that do not require divestment, but also help to reduce carbon emissions. 

 

Shareholder Engagement 

This investment strategy leverages an investor’s position to influence the corporate decision-making of public companies. When you hold shares in a company, you have the right to attend their annual general meetings (AGM) and vote on important matters. As a shareholder participating in engagement make sure you:  

  • Vote to select the company’s board of directors and other important matters. Employ proxy voting when you cannot attend the AGM   
  • Write to the investor relations departments about important matters or request in person meetings. Companies have a duty to act in their shareholders’ interests so they must pay attention to your ideas.

 

Non-profit organizations such as Shareholder Association for Research and Education (SHARE)Groupe Investissement Responsible Inc. (GIR) and Regroupement pour la responsabilité sociale des entreprises (RRSE) help institutional investors to develop and implement responsible investment strategies. Their services include shareholder engagement advice, proxies, policy development and access to shareholder networks to strengthen proxy voting. 

 

Climate Advocacy 

There are over 100 respectful climate action and advocacy groups in Canada. They are based on common interests and perspectives. Each has its own specific topics, for example; carbon pricing, regenerative agriculture, ending subsidies to fossil fuel extraction companies, or creating more active transportation infrastructure like bicycling lanes. They have a variety of methods for achieving their goals, such as lobbying, letter writing, or kitchen-table conversations.

Climate Activists

 

Bank Switching 

Canadian banks are intertwined with the fossil fuel industry. Despite some green initiatives, many still support fossil fuels. Withdrawing your business is a powerful way to signal displeasure.

  • Meet with bank representatives to ask them to disclose their fossil fuel involvement or their ESG profile. When you find an institution that has a satisfactory climate agenda, open an account. 
  • Tell the manager of the old institution why you left. When enough people do this, the banks take notice. 
  • Consider a Credit Union as many of them do not invest in fossil fuel production and expansion.  
  • Visit 350.org for more information on bank switching. 

 

Vatican Invitation to Action

A significant initiative towards sustainability from Rome 

Pope Francis calls divesting from fossil fuels both a moral and a theological imperative that can help to counter widespread suffering and destruction from climate change. The Vatican Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development encourages an examination of how Catholics can bring about systemic change by planning and acting on seven goals. One of these goals is an evolution towards an Ecological Economy. The Laudato Si’ Action Platform suggests, “Ensuring financial investments are ethical and sustainable by divesting from fossil fuels, investing in socially responsible enterprises, and choosing ethical banking and insurance companies.” When you choose to participate in the seven-year journey of the Laudato Si’ Action Platform you will receive guidance through many actionable activities, including tracking your goals towards an Ecological Economy. 

 

Resources

Downloadable Resources

5 sets of Discernment questions in PDF forms

These questions were developed by Trócaire, Maynooth Ireland to aid organizations discerning divestment. Visit our Judge section for more guidance.

Step 1

Questions for religious leaders in Examining Climate Change and Your Organization.

Print Questions

Step 2

Questions for religious leaders to consider in writing your policy.

Print Questions

Step 3

Questions for religious leaders to consider in developing an implementation plan.

Print Questions

Step 4

Questions for religious leaders to consider for monitoring, reviewing and reporting your policy.

Print Questions

Step 5

Questions for religious leaders to consider when making your decision public.

Print Questions

Divestment Letter

Access Scarboro Missions letter to the companies that they divested from.

View Letter

Sample divestment advocacy letter in PDF form

A template for asking an organization to consider divestment from the Laduato Si’ Movement.

Download Letter

Talking to Advisors

Bring these questions with you and add your own when you meet with your advisor to discuss your move to eco-investing.

Print Questions

 

Video Resources

Testimonials video 

Share these testimonials with your organization while discerning divestment.

Watch on YouTube

The Climate is a Common Good video 

Add this video to your organization’s communications material about divestment.

Watch on YouTube

Our Climate Changing video 

Add this video to your organization’s communications material about divestment. 

Watch on YouTube

 

Financial Resources  

As You Sow fund screener  offers tools that allow you to search for funds in line with your values.  

SHARE offers many services for investors including, proxy voting advice and planning, networking, and shareholder engagement services and consultation. 

RRSE Regroupement pour responsabilité sociales des entreprises Est un regroupement de communautés religieuses, d’organismes et d’individus dont la mission est de promouvoir la responsabilité sociale des entreprises en proposant des changements concrets en matière de justice sociale, environnementale et de saine gouvernance.

Groupe Investissement Responsible Inc.  GIR services include consultation and management of voting rights to help clients take into account ESG issues in their investments and their voting decisions.

Raven Indigenous Capital Partners  With Raven Indigenous Capital Partners, you can invest in sustainable Indigenous economic relationships through their indigenous impact fund.  

MaRS Centre for Impact Investing provides many services including advisory services, mentorship, education, and access to an annual social finance forum in Toronto.  

FaithInvest Visit FaithInvest to join an international network of faith-based investors who educate, collaborate and explore new opportunities and concepts around faith and value-driven investing.  

CIIC Learn about the work being done by the Catholic Impact Investing Collaborative.  

SHIFT Action for Pension Wealth and Planet Health  Find tools to engage peers and pension fund managers to protect pension assets and the planet. 

Ontario Teachers and HOOPP Members Pension Plan Members If you belong to these two pension plans, collaborate here to let Canadian pension fund managers know that you support action for the climate. 

Impact United Join Impact United to connect with other like-minded organizations and financial institutions who are using capital to mobilize action for social and environmental justice. 

The Carbon Underground 200 Fossil Fuel Investment Solutions annually identifies the top global publicly-owned coal, oil, and gas reserves owners ranked by the carbon emissions embedded in their reserves.

 

Continued Learning and Tools

 

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On Laudato Si’:

On Care for Our Common Home: A dialogue guide for Laudato Si’ A guide to assist with facilitated group discussion and learning about Laudato Si’.

Care for God’s Creation - A Guide for Parishes A guide from the Archdiocese of Ottawa-Carlton on how to incorporate Laudato Si’ into the life of a parish. 

University Pathways Laudato Si’ A site rich in resources to guide you on your journey with Laudato Si’. 

 

Tools to reduce carbon footprint: 

Walk Through Audits

Visit Faith & the Common Good’s website to take your organization on a walk-through energy audit to learn how your community can be greened. 

Energy Benchmarking

Visit Faith & the Common Good to register your faith community to learn how to track energy use and receive suggestions to reduce consumption. 

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To assist with financial discernment: 

Reconciliation and Responsible Investment Initiative A guide for investors on advancing Indigenous reconciliation in Canada. 

Indigenous Sustainable Investment

Indigenous Sustainable Investment: Discussing Oportunities in ESG

Discussion primer summarizing an Indigenous People’s approach to emerging ESG investment standards in Canada.

Download PDF (6.65 MB)

 

Fossil Free 350.org originated the divest from fossil fuels movement.  It has grown into a powerful movement organizing hundreds of thousands of people globally. 

IMPACTFUL INVESTMENT CAPITAL AS A FORCE FOR GOOD: MOVING FROM THEORY TO PRACTICE A Catherine Donnelly Foundation documentation of their impact investment experience and recommendations.

Divesting our congregational funds from fossil fuels, the actions we took and the lessons we learned, Trinity St. Paul United Church. 

Scarboro Missions Summary of Divestment from Fossil Fuels, a synopsis of the Scarboro Missions divestment journey.

Catholic Eco-Investment Accelerator Webinars Access Mouvement Laudato Si’ Movement - Canada’s Catholic Eco-Investment Accelerator webinars.

Canada's Big Oil Reality Check

Canada’s Big Oil Reality Check

Environmental Defense assesses the value of ESG reporting by the Canadian energy sector.

Download PDF (6.65 MB)

 

Canada’s energy companies are gaining ground on climate risk disclosures, but there are still gaps to fill An assessment of climate related financial disclosures in Canada’s energy sector. 

Emerging Risks for the Energy Sector and How ESG is Tied to a Company’s Financial Health A look at the various risk factors affecting profitability of Canadian companies. 

ESG and the Canadian Energy Sector

ESG and the Canadian Energy Sector

A report on how ESGs are reported by energy companies in Canada, the consistency of reporting, caveats of ESG reporting strategies, greenwashing potential.

Download PDF (701 KB)

 

Fossil fuel financing in Canada: Financial flows & balance sheet impacts

Fossil fuel financing in Canada: Financial flows & balance sheet impacts

A report on Canadian banks leadership of financing loans and investments to the fossil fuel industry globally, commissioned by Greenpeace in 2021.

Download PDF (2.7 MB)

 

To make you commitments public: 

Laudato Si’ Movement – Divest/Reinvest Make your commitment to fossil fuel divestment with the Laudato Si’ Movement (formerly the Global Catholic Climate Movement) using this form, and access their guide to divestment and reinvestment. 

Fossil Free: Divest – Register Your Divestment Commitment

Catholic Impact Investing Collaborative Pledge Join others seeking to implement faith-based values with impact investment strategies and opportunities. 

 

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The work of re-evaluating your investments, with a lens to protecting our

common home, is rooted in faith filled traditions.

 

Pope Francis offers this prayer.

God of love, show us our place in this world as the channels of your love for all creatures of this earth, for not one of them is forgotten in your sight.


Enlighten those who possess power and money that they may avoid the sin of indifference, that they may love the common good, advance the weak, and care for this world in which we live.


The poor and the earth are crying out.


O Lord, seize us with your power and light, help us to protect all life, to prepare for a better future, for the coming of Your Kingdom of justice, peace, love and beauty.


Praise be to you! Amen.

~ excerpt from A Christian Prayer in union with Creation, Laudato Si’


Acknowledgements 

Thank you, Catherine Donnelly Foundation, for funding the Catholic Eco-Investment Accelerator project. 

Thank you, Faith & the Common Good for technical, administrative and website support. 

Thank you, Sisters of St. Joseph in Canada, Scarboro Missions, and the Ursuline Sisters of Chatham for additional financial assistance.

Thank you, Kevin Moynihan, http://www.kmproductions.ca/, for generously donating time and talent to edit the Testimonials video. 

Thank you, Philippe Crabbé, and staff member Abir Samih, of Regroupement pour la responsabilité sociale des entreprises (RRSE), for assistance with French editing. 

Thank you, Cathy Lacroix, Robin Larocque, CJ Martin, and Romane Toumani for the contribution of your talent and time to complete the planning, writing and translation of the Toolkit. 

Thank you, Agnes Richard, Coordinator of Mouvement Laudato Si’ Movement Canada for overseeing the project. 

 

Catherine Donnely Foundation
Faith & the Common Good
MLSM-Canada
Sisters of St. Joseph
Ursuline Sisters
RRSE
Scarboro Missions

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