In 2015, following a resolution made in the wake of discussion at our last two diocesan conventions, Bishop Mariann Budde and Diocesan Council established a Committee on Sustainable and Responsible Investing to create and share with the parishes of the diocese information concerning what has become known as socially responsible investing (“SRI”), also known as impact, fossil fuel free and ESG investing (emphasizing environmental, social and governance issues).
The committee was charged with creating and sharing two model portfolios of SRI-based mutual funds that might serve as exemplars in the event that a parish’s investment committee wishes to consider allocating assets pursuant to SRI/ESG tenets or in the event that a social justice or environment committee wants to engage the parish in a discussion about how an investment portfolio can produce positive social change.
Existing EDOW policy includes “negative screening.” This is an investment practice that avoids supporting industries that the investor finds morally objectionable. However, many congregations, dioceses, and other religious and educational institutions and pension funds in the wider Episcopal Church have shown substantial interest in approaches to responsible investing that promote desirable outcomes or reward responsible corporate behavior.
The diocesan Committee on Sustainable and Responsible Investing does not give investment advice or endorse any particular strategy, fund or asset class, but instead provides background for congregations that want to evaluate SRI and compare SRI-oriented funds with other funds and various indices of past performance.
More information about the work of the Committee on Sustainable and Responsible Investing, including background information, documents, and other information, is available on the diocesan website. Please email Diana Church, chair of the committee, with questions.