United Methodist Pension Board Loses $118.8 Million in 2015 Due to Fossil Fuel Investments

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For Immediate Release:
May 11, 2016

Portland, OR—The United Methodist General Board of Pension and Health Benefits lost $118.8 million in 2015 due to stock investments in more than 100 of the top 200 coal, petroleum and natural gas companies. This represents a 30% decline in the value of these fossil fuel stocks. Some of the largest contributors to this massive loss included Anglo American, ExxonMobil and Marathon Oil—these three companies alone caused the pension board to lose more than $26.8 million.

During this same period, the S&P 500 without fossil fuels declined only .64 percent, while the MSCI All Country World Index without fossil fuels rose 5.82 percent. “There is a false perception that investing in fossil fuels is safe and stable, while divesting from fossil fuels is risky,” said Rev. Jenny Phillips, Fossil Free UMC Coordinator. “In fact, fossil fuel investments are becoming increasingly volatile. This, combined with the instability fossil fuels bring to the climate and the world’s natural resources, makes fossil fuels a high-risk investment for our pensions and for the planet.”

The General Board of Pension and Health Benefits has half a billion dollars invested in more than 100 of the top 200 largest coal, petroleum and natural gas companies. Delegates to General Conference 2016 will consider legislation to screen fossil fuels from church investments.

For more information, contact Rev. Jenny Phillips at fossilfreeumc@gmail.com.

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