United Church Funds was very involved in several conversations during General Synod regarding socially responsible investing practices. To learn more about our efforts and recent changes made to our investing policy, please read the following letter from UCF President Don Hart.
As a leader in Socially Responsible Investing (SRI), United Church Funds makes it a priority to thoughtfully and effectively respond to urgent calls for social action from the United Church of Christ, our investors, and other SRI partners. As a result of recent discussions, we are pleased with the support received at the 30th General Synod in Cleveland around resolutions aimed at increasing participation in the SRI platform, and consequently effecting change through economic leverage.
At General Synod, delegates voted to affirm a resolution, co-sponsored by United Church Funds and the Pension Boards-United Church of Christ, Inc., urging all settings of the Church to investigate SRI, and employ its principles. As investors of United Church Funds, you can be proud that you are already part of the growing trend of investors that consider environmental, social, and governance factors when deciding how to be responsible stewards of their assets. Read the resolution here.
The General Synod also provided a platform to announce changes on how to best reflect our concern for climate change in our investment processes. As part of United Church Funds’ continued response to the 2013 resolution, Urging Divestment – Along with Other Strategies – from Fossil Fuel Companies, our Investment Committee recently created a policy preventing investment in companies whose carbon emissions are derived mostly from the extraction of thermal coal or oil in tar sands. These forms of energy extraction are highly degrading to the environment. This policy will impact our traditional funds (in accordance with all stipulations of our Statement of Investment Policy). The Beyond Fossil Fuels Funds already avoid companies with significant coal and tar sands operations.
Lastly, the General Synod delegates voted to affirm A Call for the United Church of Christ to Take Actions Toward a Just Peace in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict. This resolution asks all parts of the United Church of Christ to support the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement by protesting the Occupation of Palestinian Territories by the state of Israel. In covenantal response, our Investment Committee recently instituted a policy of non-investment in corporations whose involvement in the Occupied Territories leads to direct violations of human rights, as defined by United Church Funds. The policy incorporates our desire to partner with the justice aims of the Church, while remaining responsible fiduciaries of our investors’ assets. In order to best execute this policy, United Church Funds has partnered with an internationally recognized corporate research firm, to identify and monitor those companies most complicit in enabling human rights abuses in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.
It is our continued pleasure to serve our investors in aligning values and mission with finances. To discuss these developments further, United Church Funds’ staff members will be recording a video for your organization’s or congregation’s use. Please visit our webinars page after September 30, 2015 for this resource. For further information, please email me at any time.