St Andrew’s Psalter Lane Church
Socially Responsible and Ethical Investment Policy
St Andrew’s Psalter Lane Church does not currently have any investments apart from funds held with the Methodist Church. This Policy covers the eventuality of any future investments.
The investment policy goals of St Andrew’s Psalter Lane Church are to:
- Exclude from investment companies that violate Church values
- Persuade corporations to integrate responsible business practices on environmental, social, and governance issues into their operations and to be transparent in monitoring and documenting these practices in public reports
- Seek to invest in corporations with environmental "best practice" policies and strategies that address conservation, sustainable development, renewable energy, the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, increased energy efficiency, recycling, eliminating the use of toxic chemicals and materials, and the disclosure of environmental risk
- Seek opportunities to invest in companies, banks, funds, or ventures owned by women and persons of color or with positive records in hiring and promoting women and persons of colour
- Seek opportunities to invest in affordable housing and community development projects
- Seek opportunities to invest in companies, banks, funds, or ventures located in developing countries or dedicated to alleviating poverty in developing countries provided that those countries respect human and labor rights and have a record of trying to raise national living standards while working to maintain ecological integrity
- Encourage companies to adopt, implement, and monitor for compliance a supplier code of conduct that is consistent with the International Labor Organization's core labor standards and designed to prevent the manufacture, or purchase through subcontracting, of products made with sweatshop, forced, or child labour
- Encourage companies to honor and promote human rights and the dignity of human life
- Seek opportunities to encourage companies to work in partnerships to address treatment for HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria and to promote access to medicines and global healthcare
- Seek opportunities to commend corporations publicly for transparency, disclosure, socially responsible behavior, and efforts to raise industry standards on environmental, social, and governance issues that are of major concern to The Methodist Church
- Consider using investment-portfolio managers and funds that specialize in corporate social responsibility screening or are owned by women and persons of colour.
Socially Responsible and Ethical Investing Strategies:
St Andrew’s Psalter Lane Church shall pursue its investment policy goals through widely practiced socially responsible and ethical investing tools such as:
- Portfolio screening
Based on long-standing Methodist values, securities held will be reviewed for acceptability under the following headings:
- alcohol and tobacco
- corporate governance and business ethics
- fair trade and debt relief
- human rights
- media ethics (including pornography)
- medical and food safety issues.
When property is given, devised, bequeathed or otherwise lawfully transferred to St Andrew’s Psalter Lane Church in the form of stocks, shares or securities, the ECC shall seek advice, for example from the Central Finance Board of the Methodist Church (CFB) as to whether the property is acceptable under these headings and shall dispose of any not acceptable.
The CFB was formed to provide for the wider investment of funds of the Methodist Church, and the Methodist Conference established the 'Joint Advisory Committee on the Ethics of Investment' to advise the CFB on ethical matters relating to investment. An annual report is made to the Methodist Conference on the activities of the Joint Advisory Committee. This report is reviewed by the Board to confirm that by investing through CFB funds, it is meeting its Ethical Investing Policy.
- Social Impact Investing
All Church-related investors are urged to "make a conscious effort to invest in institutions, companies, corporations, or funds whose practices are consistent with the goals outlined in the Social Principles." Investment strategy, therefore, is based on careful consideration not only of financial returns, but also of social returns across a wide range of issues. Some investments are designed to achieve very specific social outcomes, such as the construction of affordable housing, the renewal of neighborhoods, or the expansion of business ownership among those traditionally excluded from such ownership.
- Shareholder Advocacy
Companies may meet the broad investing guidelines of the Church but still fall short of the goals outlined above. Responsible Christian investing includes seeking to change company business practices to match more closely articulated Church values. As shareholders of corporations, Church investors may engage corporate management in a variety of ways-from writing letters to voting proxies, filing shareholder resolutions, building investor coalitions, and engaging in corporate dialogues.
- Strategic Partnerships
Working in collaboration with others strengthens the socially responsible voice and allows the convergence of strategies to engage corporations more forcefully on issues of corporate governance, environmental sustainability, and social justice. Strategic partners may include Methodist boards, agencies, foundations and universities, other faith-based investors, domestic and global nongovernmental organizations, responsible investing affinity groups such as those connected with the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI), and other socially responsible investors.
Divestment is one of the socially responsible investing tools available to Methodist investors but should be considered an investment strategy of last resort. Shareholder advocacy - though it takes time - generally is a more effective, and constructive way to influence corporate decision-making.
The Socially Responsible and Ethical Investment Policy will be reviewed annually. The next review is due in October 2024.