St Mary’s Cathedral – Fossil Fuels Divestment

St Mary’s Episcopal Cathedral, Edinburgh, is delighted to announce that it will be joining a growing global movement to divest from fossil fuels, and is one of the first Cathedrals in the world to do so.

In June this year, the Scottish Episcopal Church General Synod asked the Church’s Investment Committee to act, recognising the “moral imperative to divest fully from fossil fuels.”  The Cathedral’s announcement is alongside multiple faith institutions from around the world at Financing the Future, a summit devoted to accelerating investment in a clean economy, which is currently underway in Cape Town. A group of 75 high-level faith leaders at the summit are spending the day exploring concrete ways to make the transition to a clean energy economy. The announcement comes during the Season of Creation, a global celebration of prayer and action for the environment, and is made just days after Pope Francis said that “now is the time to abandon our dependence on fossil fuels and move, quickly and decisively, towards forms of clean energy and a sustainable and circular economy.”

Very Rev John Conway, Provost of St Mary’s Episcopal Cathedral, said, “Following the lead of the Scottish Episcopal Church’s General Synod, which this summer asked its Investment Committee to pursue a policy of divestment, we are delighted to join the growing global movement of those who recognise, in this time of climate emergency, that business as usual will not suffice. We need to shape an economy that does not rely on fossil fuels, whose extraction and burning are imperilling the lives and livelihoods of so many, both now and for all generations to come. The climate emergency will only be tackled when as individuals, institutions, businesses and governments, we act together, in solidarity with those who suffer now, and with hope for future generations.”

James Buchanan, Operation Noah’s Bright Now Campaign Manager: “We are delighted that St Mary’s Episcopal Cathedral has decided to divest from fossil fuels. This shows true leadership in responding to the climate emergency. We hope many others will join them in divesting from companies contributing most to the climate crisis and investing in the clean technologies of the future.”

Financing the Future: Financing a fossil fuel-free future in which everyone has access to renewable energy – especially the 1 billion people living in energy poverty – is indispensable to solving the climate crisis. With little time left before we lock in irreversible climate impacts, mission-driven leaders are responding by taking action. Faith leaders, foundations, university administrators, health care organisations, and municipal governments are now all looking at how they can finance a just future.

Full motion from the SEC General Synod:


  • the ethical investment policy be updated to reflect the moral imperative to divest fully from fossil fuels and to extend the list of restricted categories for direct investment and pooled funds;
  • pending agreement of a revised ethical investment policy, the current ethical investment policy be retained; and 
  • there be formed an Ethical Investment Advisory Group to develop a strategy to enable the Scottish Episcopal Church to completely disinvest from unethical sources of revenue.

September 2019