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3iG launches with 27 founder members and partners

April 19 2005:

Sikh celebration at the launch of 3iG

Twenty-seven organizations representing members of seven world religions and an array of banks, private philanthropies and SRI organizations, this month became the founding members of the first International Interfaith Investment Group, (3iG).

The purpose is to help religious-owned and managed stocks and shares to move into socially responsible investing (SRI), and between them the founding members already represent portfolios running into the billions. They include representatives from Buddhist, Christian, Daoist, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim and Sikh faiths.

The launch in London on April 11-13 marked the successful start of a twelve month period of regional launches around the world to develop 3iG’s distinctive cluster model of positive, faith-consistent investment. The aim is to have fifty or more members and partners by the first AGM next April.

A Jewish shofar is a call to reflection
There is a long tradition of the world’s faiths knowing what they will not invest in – be that alcohol for Methodists, armaments for Quakers, interest charging for Muslims or animal products for Hindus. This is what the Bishop of London in his keynote speech called the “via negativa”.

Now, a new question is being raised. What will the faiths invest in positively, to make sure that their investments are in line with their beliefs – the “via positiva” so to speak? This “faith-consistent investing” offers a dramatic new role for the religions in helping to fund, bankroll and even create a world that reflects the values, beliefs and teachings of their faith.

3iG will be run on a cluster basis – meaning that different members will combine financial forces in those areas that are particularly important for their beliefs and areas of expertise. For example, as one of Sweden’s major forestry landowners the diocese of Vasteras expects to be particularly active in the area of sustainable forestry investment around the world.

“In the past 10 years equities of international companies working solely on health (not including pharmaceuticals but including for example wheelchair suppliers) have increased performance by on average 290 percent. Water management companies have increased by 140 percent and environmental services by 257 percent. The MSCI World Index over that period has increased by 89.6 percent. Source: Henderson Global Investors. Market Cap Weighted Medium.
Four initial areas for investigation were identified. As well as forestry these were water, micro-finance and labour dignity.

SRI is not charity. The great faiths are in the business of religion – they run for example 60% of all medical care in Africa and 40% of all schools on the continent; they manage 70% of all tourist sites around the world; they own 7% of the habitable land surface of the planet and they administer literally millions of buildings, community facilities, welfare networks, youth clubs, employment projects etc. This is largely funded through their historically accrued stocks, shares and land assets. Therefore, they want and need a good return, and now they are actively seeking how that can also be because they have invested in good businesses.

However it can be argued (and some of the figures are persuasive) that companies that take their environmental responsibilities and employees seriously will pay dividends in the future.

Founding Members of 3iG:

* Church of Sweden – Vasteras Diocese
* General Board of Global Ministries of the United Methodist Church, USA
* General Board of Pension and Health Benefits of the United Methodist Church, USA
* Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers
* Oblate Investment Trust/Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate
* Royal Islamic Academy of Jordan
* Shoresh Foundation
* Vedic Sanatana Dharma, India

Supporting Networks:

“This is one of those moments where our wired-up world is struggling to express its unity while celebrating the diversity of our voices.” Bishop of London Keynote speech to 3iG.
* Alliance Inter Monasteres
* China Daoist Association
* Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition
* Garrison Institute
* Interfaith Council for Corporate Responsibility
* Irfan Establishment of Lebanon
* Islamic Millennium Forum for Peace and Dialogue
* Liberal Judaism, UK
* Muslim Civic Education Trust
* World Council of Churches

Partners:

* Brooklyn Bridge
* Ecological Management Foundation (EMF)
* Innovest
* Medley Global Advisors
* Mott Foundation
* Pilkington Foundation
* Rabobank/Robeco

The website for 3iG is www.3ignet.org.

See the Institute of Jainology Report on the launch of 3iG.

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Related pages

April 11 2005:
Bishop of London urges religious fundmanagers to invest positively
"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.
3iG mission and core values
How 3iG aims to contribute to a just and sustainable society through responsible investment.
April 27 2005:
Social investment a weapon of change for the world's faiths
International investment consultants report on launch of 3iG.