Pacific School of Religion First Seminary in California to Divest in Fossil Fuels

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Pacific School of Religion, a multi-denominational seminary in Berkeley, California, is the first seminary in California and one of the first educational institutions in Berkeley to divest from investments in fossil fuels.

“Divesting from fossil fuels is an issue in which not only students and trustees are in alignment, but faith and science as well,” said Pacific School of Religion President David Vásquez-Levy.

Pacific School of Religion, a multi-denominational seminary in Berkeley, California, announced today that its Board of Trustees has voted unanimously to adopt a policy to divest the institution from investments in fossil fuels. Pacific School of Religion is the first seminary in California to take this step and one of the first educational institutions in Berkeley to do so.

“Divesting from fossil fuels is an issue in which not only students and trustees are in alignment, but faith and science as well,” said Pacific School of Religion President David Vásquez-Levy, who was inaugurated in January 2015. “Our new divestment policy recognizes that climate change has the potential to cause unimaginable environmental damage and human suffering with disproportionate impact on the poorest countries and the most impoverished people.”

A petition signed by a group of alumni and friends of the school asking Pacific School of Religion to divest itself from investments in major fossil fuel companies echoed conversations already under consideration at the school and provided the impetus to accelerate the adoption of new policies.

The policy directs Pacific School of Religion to divest of investments in the 200 major fossil fuel companies listed by the Carbon Tracker Initiative (CT200) and create a fossil fuel free option for future endowment donors.

This new investment policy is essential in bringing the school’s business practices into proper alignment with its stated values. Mindful of Pacific School of Religion’s duty to manage endowment investments prudently and carefully in order to fulfill its mission, Pacific School of Religion expects that the systematic approach adopted will harmonize the pursuit of optimal investment returns with its mission of social transformation.

About Pacific School of Religion
A multi-denominational Christian seminary in Berkeley, California, Pacific School of Religion has been preparing bold leaders for historic and emerging faith communities since 1866. PSR’s graduates are known for innovative ministries of compassion and justice around the world—in urban and rural parishes, on city streets and college campuses, in the arts, public policy, and many other fields. PSR is a member of the Graduate Theological Union (GTU), an interfaith consortium of seminaries and institutes in the Bay Area.

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Melanie Vuynovich
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