The Commissioners of the Church of England have today received Valentines' cards from campaigners urging them to express more love for vulnerable people affected by their multi-million pound investments.
Four women from the environmental Christian group, Good Steward, hand delivered the valentines’ cards to every Church Commissioner.
More than 50 cards were taken to Church House entreating each Commissioner – from the Archbishops to the Prime Minister – to “use your powerful position to love your neighbour by divesting from the oil industry.”
In 2011 the Church of England’s number one investment was in Shell (£89.9 million). Their fourth highest investment was BP (£64.7 million).
The Church of England’s total shareholding in the oil industry is valued at in excess of £200 million.
The Church Commissioners are responsible for the investments of the Church of England’s multi-billion pound pension fund.
Siobhan Grimes, 23, a parishioner in the Church of England and a member of Good Steward said: “It’s wrong for our Church to invest in companies who admit responsibility for the worst environmental disasters in recent history.
"The Church Commissioners say that as shareholders they can pressure the oil industry to be more socially responsible, but we want to see proof. What has the Church of England’s vast shareholding in Shell done for the people on the Niger Delta? These people suffer daily from contaminated water and toxic air pollution and receive none of Big Oil’s wealth.”
Edward Mason, secretary of the Ethical Investment Advisory Group (who advise the Church Commissioners), said: “It would be very damaging to hundreds of millions of people precipitously to starve the oil industry of investment. Declining oil production would have a severe impact on poorer people in developing countries."