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Faiths and Finance

ARC would urge finance officers for faith groups to look at their investments, and see whether they can use the money not only to make a profit, but to make a difference.

During the run up to the Kathmandu Sacred Gifts meeting in November 2000 ARC undertook a survey of the assets of its major faiths and during this discovered the vast holdings of stocks and shares which so many of the faiths have.

While there has long been a tradition of some faiths using a screening policy in order not to invest in certain products explicitly banned by their teachings (e.g. alcohol, pork, gambling) little has been done to seek to pro-actively invest in areas which can be seen as supportive of the principles and teachings of the faiths. The Bishop of London described it as choosing to follow the "via positiva" rather than the "via negativa".

By the time Kathmandu took place, ARC had produced a first study and book called A Capital Solution. We had identified the fact that the faiths between them constitute one of the major investing blocks of the world economy and had begun to suggest that this power and influence could be more effective if it was done in collaboration with the different faiths rather than as faith groups by themselves.

The key phrase is that each faith should assess its portfolios with “due regard to the faith’s beliefs, values, the environment and human rights so that all life on Earth can benefit.”

Everywhere there are structures - roads, railways, aquaducts, parks - set up because somebody somewhere made a decision that this is how they want the world to look. Now it is time for our generation to decide how the world will be.
The faiths are almost unique in having a long-term perspective on investments over against the more rapacious culture of the general market. Increasingly however, ethical investments are being seen by the commercial world as of significance because of their sustainability.

Everywhere there are structures - roads, railways, aquaducts, parks - set up because somebody somewhere made a decision that this is how they want the world to look. Now it is time for our generation to decide how the world will be.

ARC would urge finance officers for faith groups to look at their investments, and see whether they can use the money not only to make a profit, but to make a difference. It is a model that every individual, of every faith and of no faith, might be encouraged to follow.



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Church Times, 22 November 2002:
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April 11 2005:
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"We have to balance our fiduciary responsibilities with a spiritual imperative to be faith-consistent investors and to learn by being engaged in the debate." Bishop of London at the launch of 3iG.
ARC at a glance
ARC is a secular body that helps the major religions of the world to develop their own environmental programmes, based on their own core teachings, beliefs and practices.