As a faith-based investor we consider our investments in line with Christian values and exclude companies that are active in spaces and sectors which we feel a moral responsibility to avoid.
The Church Commissioners is a universal asset owner. This means that the value of the fund is interlinked with the global economy and macroeconomic risks. Therefore, the Church Commissioners is dependent on social and environmental stability over the long term.
We consider climate change, nature and biodiversity loss and social inequality as systemic risks that will likely cause significant disruption to the financial system, the economy and wider society - effects that are already being felt today. These risks may be thought of as distinct and separate, but in our view, they are interconnected and interdependent.
We see responsible investment as a way to navigate systemic risks. By Respecting People, the Planet, and being insistent on the need for Good Governance, we believe we can create positive outcomes for us both financially and for society as a whole. These three areas underpin our responsible investment policy.
Our approach to Respect for the Planet is driven by the fifth Mark of Mission of the Anglican Communion, “to strive to safeguard the integrity of creation, and sustain and renew the life of the earth”, and guided by the recognition that humanity, and by extension financial markets, do not adequately value all of the services and resources that the natural world currently provides. This leads to a range of environmental issues that pose significant risks not only for economic stability and future financial returns, but also the survival of our global ecosystem. As part of our approach to Respect for the Planet, we have committed, as a signatory to the UN-convened Net Zero Asset Owner Alliance, to transition our investment portfolio to net zero emissions by 2050. We have also committed, as a member of the Financial Sector Deforestation Action to, as far as possible, eliminate soft commodity-driven deforestation in our investment portfolio by 2025.
Respect for People is an intrinsic part of the fourth Mark of Mission of the Anglican Communion, “to seek to transform unjust structures of society, to challenge violence of every kind and to pursue peace and reconciliation” and is a critical aspect of addressing the systemic risks of climate change, nature and biodiversity loss and, especially, social inequality. Underpinning our approach is the expectation that investee companies respect human rights. Respect for human rights enables the management of risks and impacts on people during the transition to tech-enabled, net-zero, nature-positive economies, and provides the starting point for companies to help address social inequalities via their impacts on workers, consumers and broader society. We have committed to taking voting action against the relevant directors of companies who fail to meet our expectations on human rights.
Underpinning the above, we believe that good governance is at the heart of successful business and investment. As responsible investors, we believe that robust consideration of corporate governance practices underpins companies’ sustainable wealth creation, protection of shareholders’ capital, and the integrity and attractiveness of investment. Our responsible investment approach to corporate governance is supported by Ethical Investment Policies, informed by advice from the Ethical Investment Advisory Group (‘EIAG ’) of the Church of England, which guide both our ethical exclusions and the way in which we steward our assets.
Having these three areas as the foundation of our approach, we are able to promote the long-term sustainability of the fund while acting with integrity, taking into account our fiduciary duty and commitment to provide for the Church of England, in line with its ethical values, in perpetuity.