The Foundation’s approach to faith-based investing uses the three pillars of socially responsible investing – screening, shareholder advocacy, and impact investment – to express faithful stewardship of investment resources in alignment with Presbyterian values.
- Presbyterians are called to fulfill stewardship responsibilities by ensuring that the resources managed by the church reflect our faith and God’s desires for the world.
- The Foundation has a dual responsibility to work for the benefit of the poor and oppressed while providing for the economic needs of families, churches, and mission/ministry organizations so that all can enjoy the benefits of God’s gifts.
- Faith-based investing uses positive and negative screening, shareholder advocacy, and impact investment – to express faithful stewardship of investment resources.
SCREENINGScreening means selecting investments that meet criteria based on Presbyterian faith values. Positive screens seek companies for investment based on selected business practices. Negative screens exclude particular companies or industries from investment.
The Foundation employs both positive and negative screens. We avoid investments in companies involved in tobacco, alcohol, and gambling, along with for-profit prisons, and some companies related to weapons production. In addition, a company involved in serious human rights violations may also be screened. The Foundation-sponsored New Covenant Funds use positive screens actively seeking out companies with good environmental, social and governance practices.
SHAREHOLDER ADVOCACYShareholder advocacy calls for investors to use their voices as part-owners to leverage a call for socially responsible corporate policies and practices. Through dialogue and meetings with company management, the Foundation as a shareholder directly encourages more responsible levels of corporate citizenship. The Foundation may also file shareholder proposals to be voted on at that company’s annual shareholder meeting. The Foundation also actively votes proxies on ballots in advance of company annual meetings.
IMPACT INVESTINGImpact investing offers a positive and creative approach to a challenging situation. Beyond a simple monetary return, the outcome being sought is transformation – hope in place of fear, peace in place of violence, empowerment in place of injustice, changed lives, changed circumstances. The General Assembly has designated a percentage of the unrestricted endowments from which it benefits to be invested in such ventures. These currently include:
- Oikocredit, a church-based organization making loans globally to economic development projects benefiting the poorest people in their societies.
- Opportunity Finance Network, providing financial capital for economic development in communities that are often overlooked or excluded by traditional financial structures.
- A series of investments in Israel-Palestine, as part of an effort to create conditions for peace in the region. These include microfinance, education, renewable energy, tourism, and life sciences projects.
MISSION RESPONSIBILITY THROUGH INVESTMENTThe General Assembly’s committee for Mission Responsibility Through Investment (MRTI), was created to advance the Church’s mission faithfully and creatively through the financial resources entrusted it. MRTI engages corporations in which the Foundation and the Board of Pensions own stock through correspondence, dialogues, voting shareholder proxies and recommending similar action to others, and occasionally filing shareholder resolutions.
MRTI enjoys the full participation and support of the Presbyterian Foundation. Assets under our management, including those of the Foundation-sponsored New Covenant mutual funds, are managed according to General Assembly guidelines, to the extent lawful.
ENVIRONMENTAL STEWARDSHIPThe Foundation uses its investments to care for God’s creation through five complementary approaches. These include investments in companies creating environmental solutions, work with managers to consider environmental factors in their selection of investments, shareholder advocacy and dialogues with companies (through MRTI), low-interest loans to churches for energy efficiency projects (in partnership with the Presbyterian Investment and Loan Program), and “fossil free” investment solutions for churches and individuals (through New Covenant Trust Company).
TRANSFORMATIONAL INVESTMENTSInvesting for Peace in the Middle East
The Presbyterian Foundation has developed a program of Transformational Investment to address the troubled region of Israel / Palestine, through investments in a new building for a college-based culinary school and tour guide training program, renewable energy facilities, and a microfinance initiative designed around women’s empowerment and agricultural development.
- The program is one more step in the long Presbyterian tradition of working to transform our world.
- Your congregation can join in this transformative work!
Presbyterians have consistently joined in hope and prayer for a peaceful, just, and equitable resolution to the conflict between Israel and Palestine. PC(USA) General Assemblies have repeatedly and consistently recognized:
- Israel’s right to exist as a sovereign state within secure, internationally recognized borders
- Palestinians’ right to self-determination, including the right to establish a neighboring independent, sovereign state
- The desire of all to establish a just and durable peace – to which the end of occupation is essential
Presbyterian Foundation is a signatory of the UN-supported Principles for Responsible Investment (UNPRI). Further information regarding the Presbyterian Foundation’s signatory status and the Principles for Responsible Investment can be found at www.unpri.org. The Presbyterian Foundation has also developed a Responsible Investment Policy and is committed to integrating ESG risk factors into its investment process, which entails a bottom-up fundamental approach to each investment opportunity. The primary objective of the report is to enable signatory transparency on responsible investing activities and facilitate dialogue between investors and their clients, beneficiaries and other stakeholders.
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