Statement by the Church of England’s Ethical Investment Advisory Group
issued 8 February 2006
We welcome the General Synod’s debate on the work of the Ethical Investment Advisory Group (EIAG). The EIAG will of course reflect on the message Synod has sent, as we continue an active process of engagement and monitoring. The resolution passed by Synod on Monday is, however, an advisory one only; a resolution cannot take away from each investment body of the Church its own legal responsibility to take decisions on these matters (see http://www.cofe.anglican.org/news/pr6605.html).
Reports that ‘the Church of England has decided to disinvest from Caterpillar’ – let alone to boycott Israel, as some e-mails from the USA allege – are wholly untrue.
Notes: continued below the fold.
1. Ethical considerations form an integral part of the Church of England’s investment management process, in keeping with its Christian witness and values. The Church of England Ethical Investment Advisory Group (EIAG), on which the three main investment and Trustee bodies of the Church of England – the Church Commissioners, the Central Board of Finance and the Church of England Pensions Board – are represented together with representatives, [of] the General Synod, the Archbishops’ Council and the Mission and Public Affairs Council
[are represented], carries out on their behalf ethical investment research, develops policy and communicates this to the wider Church. this policy is applied to all classes of asset under management including securities, land and real estate.
The policy recommended by the EIAG and accepted by the main investment and trustee bodies of the Church of England is not to invest in any company that promotes pornography or supplies armaments and not to invest in companies whose management practices are judged by us to be unacceptable. In addition, investment is avoided in any company, a major part of whose business activity or focus is gambling or the supply of tobacco products, alcoholic beverages or non-offensive military equipment.
Given the complexity of many companies, some will have business interests in areas we seek to avoid and these are closely monitored to ensure they meet our broader criteria.
2. The resolution passed by General Synod on Monday 6 February was:
That this Synod:
(a) heed the call from our sister church, the Episcopal Church in Jerusalem and the Middle East, for morally responsible investment in the Palestinian occupied territories and, in particular, to disinvest from companies profiting from the illegal occupation, such as Caterpillar Inc, until they change their policies;
(b) encourage the Ethical Investment Advisory Group to follow up the consultation referred to in its Report (GS 1604) with intensive discussions with Caterpillar Inc, with a view to its withdrawing from supplying or maintaining either equipment or parts for use by the state of Israel in demolishing Palestinian homes &c;
(c) in the light of the urgency of the situation, and the increased support needed by Palestinian Christians, urge members of the EIAG to actively engage with monitoring the effects of Caterpillar Inc’s machinery in the Palestinian occupied territories through visiting the Episcopal Church in Jerusalem and the Middle East to learn of their concerns first hand, and to see recent house demolitions;
(d) urge the EIAG to give weight to the illegality under international law of the activities in which Caterpillar Inc’s equipment is involved; and
(e) urge the EIAG to respond to the monitoring visit and the further discussions with Caterpillar Inc by updating its recommendations in the light of these.’