Andrew Selous MP, representing the Church Commissioners, gave the following written answers to questions from MPs on 21st November 2022:
Jim Shannon MP (DUP): To ask the Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, what steps the Church is taking to promote environmental, social and governance leadership in its investments.
Andrew Selous MP (Con): The Church Commissioners Responsible Investment Team regularly engages with the companies in which they invest on environmental and social issues, and good governance. The Church Commissioners’ Stewardship report 2021 contains examples of work on impact investment, respect for the planet and respect for people: https://www.frc.org.uk/getattachment/8e8fdb87-6c32-4bf3-b549-e8209db00976/The-Church-Commissioners-for-England_Stewardship-report-2020.pdf(opens in a new tab) The Commissioners are signatory members of the Financial Reporting Council, which has approved the report.
Continue reading “Church Commissioners Written Answers: Investment, Clergy Vacancies, Provincial Episcopal Visitors, and Use of Church Monies”
On 19th November the Bishop of Salisbury asked a question he had tabled to Government, on fuel intensive businesses moving to net zero carbon emission. The exchanges are below, along with the follow-up questions from other Members:
Fossil Fuels: Business
The Lord Bishop of Salisbury: To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the report by the Transition Pathway Initiative Management Quality and Carbon Performance of Energy Companies: September 2020, published on 7 October, what steps they plan to take to encourage fossil fuel intensive businesses to accelerate their move to net zero carbon emissions.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (Lord Callanan) (Con): My Lords, the Government have schemes worth nearly £2 billion operating or in development to support our vital energy-intensive industries to decarbonise. These schemes include the industrial energy transformation fund to help companies to reduce their fuel bills and transition to low-carbon technologies, and the industrial decarbonisation challenge to support industry with the development of low-carbon technologies in industrial clusters.
The Lord Bishop of Salisbury: I thank the Minister for his Answer. There have been some welcome and notable commitments, particularly by European oil and gas companies, but overall, the sector is not moving fast enough to align with the Paris agreement. How does the Minister see the Government supporting companies to move faster and have consistent standards for reporting all emissions from scopes 1, 2 and 3 so companies demonstrate alignment clearly in their reporting?
I commend to the Minister the work of the Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change working with TPI to establish a net-zero standard. It would be marvellous if the Government supported these endeavours in the context of their presidency of COP. Continue reading “Bishop of Salisbury asks Government to encourage fossil fuel intensive businesses to accelerate move to net zero carbon emissions”
On 14th September 2020 the Second Church Estates Commissioner Andrew Selous MP answered eleven written questions from Jim Shannon MP, on ethical investment, St Margaret’s Westminster, Christian persecution, South Sudan, church schools, coronavirus and church buildings, lead theft, the Beirut explosion, marriage, mental health, and ordinations: Continue reading “Church Commissioner Written Answers: ethical investment, St Margaret’s Westminster, Christian persecution, South Sudan, church schools, coronavirus, church buildings, lead theft, Beirut explosion, marriage, mental health, ordinations”
On 25th June 20202 the Second Church Estates Commissioner, Andrew Selous MP, answered questions from MPs in the House of Commons, on: church building reopening, weddings, housing, public worship, music, online services, family life, church finances and the Transition Pathway Initiative. A transcript is below:
Continue reading “Church Commissioner questions: church building reopening, weddings, housing, public worship, music, online services, family life, church finances and the Transition Pathway Initiative”
On 18th March 2020 the Second Church Estates Commissioner, Andrew Selous MP, answered seven written questions from Jim Shannon MP, on carbon reduction, cashless donations, South Sudan, Uganda, lead theft and graveyard records:
Jim Shannon (Strangford): 29873 To ask the right hon. Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, what steps the Church of England is taking to use its investments to support business transitioning to a low carbon economy.
Andrew Selous: As responsible investors and members of the UN-convened Net Zero Asset Owner Alliance, the Church Commissioners regard climate change as a vital issue and have pledged to transition their investment to a net-zero greenhouse gas emissions portfolio by 2050. They will set their first interim emissions reduction target as members of the Net Zero Asset Owner Alliance in 2020 and will work with their public equities managers to achieve it. Continue reading “Church Commissioners’ written answers: carbon reduction, cashless donations, South Sudan, Uganda, lead theft, graveyard records”
On 31st October 2019 Rt Hon Dame Caroline Spelman answered questions from MPs for the last time as Second Church Estates Commissioner. Tributes were paid to her, and questions were answered on climate change, archbishops, reconciliation, telecommunications, thefts, women in prison, marriage, and digital evangelism. This was also the same day that the Speaker and his Chaplain were due to retire. A full transcript follows:
The right hon. Member for Meriden, representing the Church Commissioners, was asked—
Climate Change: Investment in Companies
Michael Tomlinson (Mid Dorset and North Poole) (Con): What progress the Church of England has made on holding the companies in which it invests to account on climate change. 
The Second Church Estates Commissioner (Dame Caroline Spelman): Since this is my last set of oral questions, I would like to record my heartfelt thanks to my small team of staff, and especially my constituency secretary, who has faithfully served me for 20 out of 22 years. We often forget that our staff are on the frontline of much of the abuse that we receive, and I want to record my admiration for their fortitude. I also thank the amazing staff I have had to support me in this role, particularly Simon Stanley at Church House.
In tribute, Mr Speaker, I thank you for your kindness and courtesy—unfailingly so, and especially at times of personal duress. I single out your inspired choice of Speaker’s Chaplain, who has enriched the spiritual life of this place—but more of that later.
The Church of England Pensions Board has tabled a shareholder resolution ahead of the annual general meeting of BHP Billiton, the world’s largest mining company, on 7 November this month. It asks BHP to suspend its membership of trade associations that are not lobbying in line with the climate change agreement. This is just the latest example of the Church Commissioners using their shareholder position to change company policy in line with the climate change agreement.
Continue reading “Church Commissioner Questions: Tributes, climate change, archbishops, reconciliation, telecommunications, thefts, women in prison, marriage, digital evangelism”
On 20th June 2019 MPs asked questions of Rt Hon Dame Caroline Spelman MP, the Second Church Estates Commissioner. Questions were asked about serious youth violence, clergy recruitment in London, the contribution of cathedrals to the local economy, employee pay gap, responsible investments, mobile phone masts, and persecution of Christians:
The right hon. Member for Meriden, representing the Church Commissioners, was asked—
Serious Youth Violence
Daniel Kawczynski (Shrewsbury and Atcham) (Con)
1. What steps the Church of England is taking to help tackle serious youth violence; and if she will make a statement. 
Vicky Foxcroft (Lewisham, Deptford) (Lab)
7. What steps the Church of England is taking to help tackle serious youth violence; and if she will make a statement. 
The Second Church Estates Commissioner (Dame Caroline Spelman): The Church was represented at the knife crime summit organised by the Prime Minister at No. 10 earlier this year, and the General Synod will be debating this subject at its session next month. There is no question but that this issue is of the utmost seriousness, as too many young lives are being lost.
Continue reading “Church Commissioner Questions: serious youth violence, clergy recruitment in London, cathedrals and the economy, employee pay gap, responsible investments, mobile phone masts, Christian persecution”
On 1st April 2019 the Second Church Estates Commissioner, Rt Hon Dame Caroline Spelman MP, answered a written question on discussions with mining companies over dam safety:
Alex Burghart (Brentwood and Ongar): 238387 To ask the right hon. Member for Meriden, representing the Church Commissioners, what discussions the Church of England has had with the mining sector on improving the safety of tailings dams after the collapse of Vale dam in Brazil. Continue reading “Church Commissioners Written Answer: mining companies, dam safety”