The US Episcopal Church’s pension services organisation is placing its faith in the future of solar, wind and other carbon-free alternatives in North America with a $40m investment in a clean energy infrastructure fund managed by New Energy Capital Partners (NEC).

NEC will use the Church Pension Fund’s money within its New Energy Capital Infrastructure Credit Fund II that invests across the capital structures of small and mid-sized clean energy infrastructure companies and projects.

“This Fund reflects the growing interest from investors in the clean energy market. Our investors are looking for investments that deliver strong risk-adjusted returns, while also providing a positive environmental impact,” Scott Brown, chief executive of NEC, said in a statement.

The Church Pension Fund says its “socially responsible” investments in 25 countries focus on those that offer risk-adjusted returns and have a positive social impact.

These include environmentally responsible programs such as clean technology, green buildings and sustainable forestry, and economically targeted initiatives like sustainable agriculture and urban redevelopment.

The Episcopal Church, a member church of the worldwide Anglican Communion, is among a growing number of churches and inter-faith groups in the US that are taking a more active role in addressing climate change and environmental issues.

This includes using their financial clout to promote carbon-free energy and environmental sustainability initiatives and technologies, to leveraging their moral and spiritual influence to build support among their congregations to support cleaner alternatives and pressure elected officials to do the same.

GreenFaith, for example, a New Jersey-based inter-faith group dedicated to environmental leadership, writes in its mission statement that “protecting the earth is a religious value, and environmental stewardship is a moral responsibility.”