10 July 2013

Making £1 billion count - ethical investment discussed at the Methodist Conference

The Methodist Church's ethical investment advisory body has revised its position on alcohol, among other issues. The Joint Advisory Committee on the Ethics of Investment (JACEI) advises the Church's Central Finance Board, which has about £1 billion invested on behalf of Methodist churches and other bodies.

In its report to the Methodist Conference, JACEI said it agreed a new position paper on investment in alcohol-related companies. The paper "reflects changes in the way alcohol is bought and consumed, [and] recognises that concern has grown in respect of the impact on children." The CFB will, for example, continue to avoid investment in companies whose commercial success is mainly linked to excessive "volume" drinking. 

The CFB has a policy of active ethical investment, engaging with the companies in which it invests. It therefore encourages companies it invests in to support health awareness campaigns, responsible drinking and to ensure that alcohol is not targeted at or available to those under 18. 

Other issues discussed by JACEI include Israel/Palestine, gambling, greenhouse gases and the living wage. 

The CFB recently adopted a new voting strategy at company AGMs to address executive remuneration, encourage companies to have more women to on boards, greater transparency on carbon footprint, and for employers to pay the living wage.

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