Quakers use power of the dollar

RICHARD MEADOWS
Last updated 10:35 12/06/2014

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New Zealand's Quakers community is pulling its cash out of banks that invest in fossil fuels, in an attempt to fight climate change.

Quakers are a Christian-based group of worshippers best known for their pacifism, plain clothing and teetotalism.

Also known as the Religious Society of Friends, the group agreed at its recent annual conference to pull funds from the four main Australian-owned banks.

Funds for their annual conference are held in state-owned Kiwibank, co-operative Oikocredit and social finance company Prometheus.

Local monthly meetings, committees and trusts have all been encouraged to follow suit, and let the organisations know why.

"Friends ... recognise that this is only a small step in reducing our consumption of things which exacerbate climate change and environmental degradation," co-clerks Elizabeth Thompson and Elizabeth Duke said in a joint statement.

Thompson and Duke said climate change threatened the extinction of many forms of life and millions or even billions of people.

The statement said Quakers had always encouraged the choice of life over death and asked investors and institutions to do the same.

About 1400 people are associated with Quakers New Zealand, which has a settlement in Whanganui.

The movement has a strong history in business and banking, with leading British banks Barclays and Lloyds both founded by Quakers.

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