We are committed to active engagement with companies we invest in, consistent with our ethical investment policies.
As one of the Church of England’s investing bodies, we believe that the way in which we invest forms an integral part of the Church’s mission and witness. We receive advice and support on ethical investment from the Church’s Ethical Investment Advisory Group (EIAG). They develop policy advice which, once we adopt, enables us to act as a distinctly Christian, and Anglican, institutional investor.
We are signatories to the UK Stewardship Code and the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment.
Our Engagement Team undertakes engagement with companies in which we are invested, including at shareholder meetings. We expect the companies in which we invest to pay proper attention to human rights, responsible employment practices, sustainable environmental practice, fair treatment of customers and suppliers, sensitivity towards the communities in which they operate and best corporate governance practice.
We do not wish to profit directly from, or provide capital to, activities that are materially inconsistent with Christian values, and we are aware of the risk of undermining the credibility, effectiveness and unity of the Church’s witness were we to do so. A range of investment exclusions is maintained and updated regularly. These include companies involved in indiscriminate weaponry, conventional weaponry, pornography, tobacco, gambling, non-military firearms, high interest rate lending, and human embryonic cloning. On Climate Change we operate a screen that excludes companies which derive more than 10% of their total revenue from mining thermal coal and the production of oil from tar sands.
Ethical investment is about what and how we invest. We:
- take a long-term view,
- select investment managers who can analyse the environmental, social and governance issues relevant to their strategies
- act as good stewards of our investments including through voting at company general meetings and engaging actively with companies in which we invest
- promote ethical behaviour, corporate responsibility and sustainability in our interactions with investment managers, companies and government.
2017 was an important year in advancing our programme on climate change. The Transition Pathway Initiative (TPI) is now supported by funds with over £6 trillion in assets under management. During the year, TPI assessments were released for 99 companies in five energy/carbon intensive sectors. These transparent assessments provided the basis for our engagement on disclosure and future carbon performance against a “2 degrees” scenario.
Important dialogues have also been established with mining companies through the International Council of Mining and Metals and with oil and gas companies through the global oil and gas industry association for environment and social issues.
A new Extractive Industries Ethical Investment Policy, setting out key areas for engagement with extractives, was adopted towards the end of the year. A dedicated engagement programme is under development, for implementation in 2018.