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Milestone in journey towards international faith-consistent investment

April 4, 2018:

ARC last week secured agreement by world faith representatives to form a sustainable and fundable alliance for faith-consistent investment.

Meeting at the United Nations headquarters in New York, at the invitation of the UN Development Programme (UNDP) on March 26, ARC’s secretary general Martin Palmer steered a diverse group of powerful faith investment representatives to a series of important conclusions and commitments.

The aim of the alliance is to shift the considerable weight of global faith funds towards the ambitious ethical and sustainable ends embodied by the UN sustainable development goals (SDGs). This is the next step after the successful meeting on Faith-Consistent Investment in Zug, Switzerland last November.

The commitment is to to co-operate and create a fundable and sustainable Faith-Consistent Investment Alliance, to collaborate on globally transformative faith-consistent investment.

What did the Alliance agree?

Delegates for the ARC Faith in Finance planning meeting gather outside the UN building in New York. PHOTO: William Heath
The alliance is built on a multi-faith vision of Life and Earth. At its heart are faith investors and faith organisations. These should be in partnership with philanthropies and NGOs and an inspiration to investors guided by their own faith.

It will guide investment in line with faith-consistent principles, values and responsibilities. This will in turn create demand for faith-consistent investment initiatives. It will also support some projects generated by the faiths which need investment and help the faiths form partnerships with secular agencies and suppliers of secular & religious financial services.

It aims to make entire portfolios faith-consistent in response to global challenges. That includes any proportion directed specifically toward impact investment.

What will the alliance do?

Its role will include:
* engaging the faiths and secular partners to catalyse faith-based investment partnerships;
* creating and delivering faith-consistent opportunities and business services; * connecting projects with investors at scale;
* undertaking applied research;
* sharing best practice;
* educating asset managers about engaging with faiths on positive, sustainable investments, as well as engage partners in listening to “the cry of the poor and the earth;
* providing the faith-consistent voice needed for systemic change, for example in partnership with the SDGs.>




Quaker report on the meeting

Advisor to ARC on FCI, William Heath, wrote a report about the meeting for the Society of Friends. Link here for the full story.

.... The aim is a profoundly serious one, seeking to bring the faiths together at a time of political delinquency in a global effort to respond to the existential environment crisis. Each session started with a reflection from a different faith tradition: Jewish, Muslim, Sikh, Christian and Hindu. Business was conducted throughout the day with affection and almost constant laughter between the faiths. UN staff said they’d never seen a meeting get so much done so fast.

Faced with the challenge of drafting and presenting the meeting’s conclusions I offered the group a brief outline of the Quaker business method, and how clerks ask whether a draft minute is acceptable. The heartening result was a chorus of Baptist, Jewish, Vatican. other-faith and secular voices chiming “hope so!” in near-unison as we brought an intense day’s work to a series of conclusions.

One moment of possible dissent was eased by the group’s acceptance of the insight described in QFP 3.07: "There have been many occasions in our Society when a Friend, though maintaining her or his personal convictions, has seen clearly that they were not in harmony with the sense of the meeting and has with loyal grace expressed deference to it. Out of just such a situation, after time for further reflection, an understanding of the Friend’s insight has been reached at a later date and has been ultimately accepted by the Society."

Job done. And was the output acceptable? “Hope so!”

Links

The Zug meeting in pictures plus press coverage

Faith in Finance and Values programme area

NEW ALLIANCE for Faith-Consistent Investing, Press Release November 2, 2017

Faith investors gather in Zug to transform how faith funds are invested for a better planet. Press Release October 23, 2017 Introduction to the Zug Guidelines

The full Zug guidelines.

FAQ

Biographies of the Delegates

Quaker newsletter covering the event.

Full agenda and text of presentations.

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