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Religions and the Banking Community

Jean Pierre Sweerts of Rabobank at Lambeth 2005:

A few weeks ago I came home from Egypt. My wife welcomed me at the door with “I have just heard the most beautiful voice of a man I have ever heard: I would believe everything he say”. This sounded a bit odd. So, I became a bit worried and I asked her “who are you talking about”. “The Archbishop of Canterbury” my wife said: “he just blessed the marriage of Prince Charles and Camilla”. How wonderful that I am now here at the anniversary of ARC with your Grace the Archbishop. You all understand why I did not bring my wife.

"What I have learned is that many faith organisations would benefit from help in planning, allocating, administrating and managing their total assets – in line with their beliefs. This is different from the normal service that financial advisors offer. But I sincerely hope that 3iG can contribute to this and I will do what I can to support it."
I became involved with ARC when it started the International Interfaith Investment Group: 3iG - an initiative by the worlds faiths to work together to invest their financial assets and land assets in ways that bring in high returns in line with the values of each faith. In general, the faiths are main stream investors and as such in the past have made no extra effort to ensure that financial assets are invested in companies which are rated to be excellent in, so called, Corporate Social Responsibility. 3iG will now help faiths invest according to their values, and these values seem to be based on what we bankers call Socially Responsible Investing. It will have a major impact on the world of SRI.

Today many faith groups are in transition. One monastery in the Netherlands had 80 people 30 years ago and now 15 people and most likely only 5 people in another 10 years. What does this mean for the continuity of the monastery? What to do with the buildings, the land and the financial assets?

What I have learned is that many faith organisations would benefit from help in planning, allocating, administrating and managing their total assets – in line with their beliefs. This is different from the normal service that financial advisors offer. But I sincerely hope that 3iG can contribute to this and I will do what I can to support it.

The roots of ARC are in a way in Assisi. Saint Francis respected the environment by non interfering. Saint Benedictus of Norcia, not far from Assisi, also respected the environment but more by managing it. Two approaches for the same goal: conservation of the living planet.

For me, faith has been kind of equal to the “Ora et Labora” – “Pray and Work” of Saint Benedict. ARC adds many things to “Ora et Labora” but, thinking about it, most of all Joy: “Ora, Labora et Gaudium”.

ARC go on. Bridging the gaps, flourishing the faiths: for the good of People, Profit and Planet.



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The definition of a good investment
3iG launch prospectus: a 15-point in-depth analysis of 3iG aims and values
April 19 2005:
International Interfaith 3iG launches with 27 founder members and partners
Twenty-seven organizations representing members of seven world religions and an array of banks, philanthropies and SRI organizations, became the founding members of 3iG