As a founding member of the Interfaith Center for Corporate Responsibility (ICCR), United Church Funds (UCF) always looks forward to the annual gathering that brings our friends and partners across the responsible investing field. Even though this recent conference was virtual, it did not disappoint.

Many of the highlights came from community organizers who shared insights from their work in the most vulnerable communities. These included:

  • Magaly Licolli, a grassroots organizer with Venceremos, dedicated to protecting poultry workers in the Midwest
  • Marita Canedo of Migrant Justice, serving dairy farmworkers in Vermont
  • Gerardo Reyes Chavez of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, advocating for the human rights of workers in Florida and Central America.

After hearing how many migrants have suffered in the workplace, Kate Monahan of Friends Fiduciary spoke on behalf of all faith-based asset owners and said that we must do more to hold corporations accountable and empower workers.

Corporate lobbying is another major focus among ICCR investors. Many companies make statements or set public goals supporting environmental stewardship, while at the same time lobbying for the status quo. Tim Smith, a United Church of Christ member and former president of ICCR, led a robust conversation around an effort to get companies to divulge their lobbying efforts while also holding them accountable. UCF will be supporting these efforts.

Racial justice was another primary focus. Many who signed the Racial Justice Investing Statement – including UCF – discussed how corporate attention to #BlackLivesMatter does not always translate into practice. Many leaders expressed the need to deepen their own attention to racial justice within their organizations before authentically asking corporations to do the same. For those corporations that do not freely disclose workforce diversity data, UCF will be working with fellow ICCR members to request this disclosure.

Next year marks ICCR’s 50th anniversary! There will be much to celebrate and much to be done.