Epworth was among the first church and charity investors to publish an ethical policy on Climate Change (2009). It commits us to manage portfolios to take account of climate change, reduce carbon intensity and to engage with companies on the issue.
Companies are assessed against the policy to determine whether they are suitable for investment. As a result, a number of companies have been excluded from investment, with extensive engagement undertaken with other companies to encourage a more far-sighted response.
We have been partnering with our charity investors to tackle the negative effects of climate change for over ten years. During 2019, we consulted with them on how to best respond to the worsening climate emergency. In response together we created the Epworth Climate Stewardship Fund for Charities. This allows UK charities to invest in a way that tackles the climate emergency while still aiming for above market returns. It is a climate investment solution that considers the impact that all companies we invest in have on our planet.
Epworth endorses the Paris Agreement as a significant step toward reducing green-house gas emissions, limiting global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius, and adapting to the present and future negative effects of the climate emergency. Epworth considers investee companies’ alignment to the Paris Agreement and engages with investee companies to evaluate and encourage adherence to the agreement.
Epworth recognises the climate emergency presents opportunity for investors. However, current financial disclosures lack the transparency and appropriate metrics to help investors determine a company’s outlook as the environment, consumer behaviour, regulations and technology evolve. The Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) seeks to bring stability and transparency to the way companies disclose their climate-related exposure to enable investors to make more informed decisions. Epworth welcomes the recommendations of the TCFD and encourages investee companies to adopt the TCFD’s core elements of recommended climate-related financial disclosures.