More than 40 churches and faith institutions from around the world have announced plans to divest at least £1.1bn billion ($1.4bn) from fossil fuels.

Of the 42 Methodist, Anglican, Catholic and Buddhist institutions, 21 are from the UK, while the others are based in Argentina, Australia, Bangladesh, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Kenya, Myanmar, Spain and the US.

The announcement was coordinated by UK-based Christian climate group Operation Noah and the Global Catholic Climate Movement, which have called on governments and investors to ensure the economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic is “low-carbon and just”.

Operation Noah told Recharge sister oil & gas title Upstream the £1.1bn was the amount being divested by the 21 UK institutions. It said it did not have a figure for the 21 non-UK institutions.

Tomas Insua, executive director of Global Catholic Climate Movement, said: “These institutions are taking prophetic action to light the way towards a more just and sustainable future because now more than ever, we need to protect our communities and build a just recovery together. Every dollar invested in fossil fuels is a vote for suffering.”

James Buchanan, campaign manager at Operation Noah, said: “The decisions we make now will affect the future of humanity for thousands of years.

“These faith institutions are showing strong leadership in response to the climate crisis, and we urge governments around the world to follow their lead in ending support for fossil fuels and investing in the clean technologies of the future.”

Catholic religious order Jesuits in Britain said earlier this year it planned to ditch fossil fuel companies from its $500m equity portfolio by the end of the year.

In January, the Church of England pension fund also shifted £600m ($789m) into a new equity index that invests in companies deemed to be making progress towards the Paris Climate Agreement on limiting global warming.

A report published last week by the Transition Pathway Initiative, which assesses how prepared companies are for the transition to a low-carbon economy and includes the Church of England, said Europe’s biggest oil & gas companies are continuing to overstate their climate ambitions despite making welcome progress in setting carbon reduction targets.