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Recently, a Catholic parish of St. Mary of Sorrows in Virginia,United States donated to the local community in Bhomela in Zimbabwe. This generous gift has enabled people of Bhomela to get a borehole for clean water supply and help in development of local farming initiatives during the prolonged dry season. Bhomela community is a mission church for the Zimbabwe Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate.
“Many children suffer from water-born diseases as well as malnutrition in Bhomela area. This borehole project will go a long way in alleviating these problems and developing ‘self-help’ initiatives in solving local problems,” says Zimbabwe Missionary Oblate, Fr. Charles Rensburg, OMI speaking on behalf of the local community.
“Words cannot begin to describe the community’s joy in having received a ‘life-line’ of water for the whole village. The borehole will be maintained by the local Catholic community whilst at the same time, complete access has been given to the whole village of over 3000 people.”
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Faith groups are mobilizing on climate change, seeing it as an existential threat to creation. Pope Francis will issue a papal encyclical on the environment this summer, which is expected to highlight both the need to reduce man-made carbon emissions, and for wealthy countries to help poorer nations deal with it, as they have done little to create the problem.
Meanwhile, the Church of England is putting its pounds and pence where its mouth is: The body that administers the worldwide Anglican Communion last week announced it is divesting from thermal coal and tar sands.
Islamic finance has played a major role in clean energy investment so far this decade.
Divestment from these most carbon intensive forms of energy is also good financial management. With pressure growing both from businesses concerned about how to operate in a world disrupted by climate change, and increasingly vocal popular movements, a price on carbon to discourage its use, is becoming more likely. Alongside this is the fact that renewable forms of energy – wind, solar, geothermal, and the like, are increasingly cost competitive. If the damages to health and the climate were factored into the price of carbon fuels, renewables would already be a clear winner.
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Two Years After Rana Plaza… May 1st, 2015
Two years after the collapse of the Rana Plaza factory in Bangladesh, concerns linger. These include the timeliness of major remediation efforts, the establishment of factory health and safety committees, and corporate commitments to a victims’ fund. A coalition of global investors representing $2.5 trillion in assets – including the Missionary Oblates – have sent letters to corporate members of the Bangladesh Accord for Fire and Building Safety (Accord) and the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety (Alliance). The letters request that companies disclose their efforts to safeguard the lives of workers in Bangladesh garment factories.
Faith-based Investors Help VOICE to Secure Needed Funding from GE April 28th, 2015
Faith-based and socially responsible investors enabled leaders from VOICE (Virginians Organized for Interfaith Community Engagement) to use their proxies to attend the GE AGM in Oklahoma City on April 22. VOICE was interested to attend the AGM to press GE to commit to $1 million in funding for the Metro IAF/VOICE Equity Restoration Fund. The faith-based activists had already secured $1 million from J.P. Morgan and $1.5 million from Bank of America.
Their effort was successful, which the faith leaders learned in an email from the company just as they were boarding their flight to Oklahoma. The grant will serve to leverage $10 million+ from religious and other social investors to help finance the rehabilitation of blighted and abandoned properties, construction of new homes, the development of affordable rental housing, and other community restoration activities in Prince William County, VA.
The Oblates, through Fr Seamus Finn, OMI have been working with VOICE for several years on this initiative designed to help those crushed by the mortgage crisis in 2007-08.
“Invested in Change: Faith-Consistent Investing In A Climate-Challenged World” is a document produced by the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR), intended to catalyze discussion around practical solutions needed to speed the shift to low-carbon and sustainable energy alternatives. It is offered as an open invitation to companies, investors and advocates to share their gifts in the collective work to build more sustainable and climate-resilient economies, businesses and communities.