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International Interfaith Investment in Istanbul

17 October 2003:

Delegates at the planning meeting on the island of Heybiliada

Investors and accountants from eight world religions will meet in Istanbul next week to give a new meaning to the term “good investment”.

This will be the second major meeting organised by ARC to allow religious organisations to decide how to make their invested money work positively as well as profitably.

The purpose of this Istanbul conference is to agree the terms of membership of the International Interfaith Investment Group (3iG), as well as to agree its aims and objectives.

The previous meeting was held in New York in June 2002. “The New York meeting showed absolutely clearly that the desire to create such an interfaith investment group not only exists but is warmly welcomed,” said secretary general of ARC, Martin Palmer.

“We have spent the past 15 months moving the general sense that this is a good idea into working out very specific answers about how it will work.”

All established religions have investments, many of which are significant. Income from these investments would typically be used for salaries and building maintenance as well as outreach programmes.

Religious organisations are estimated to own around $7 trillion in investments. Approximately one seventh of this could potentially be used for pro-active investments through 3iG. These investments could include solar power, micro-financing or water projects.

The meeting will take place on the island of Heybiliada (Halki); traditionally a sacred island for Orthodox Christians. It will be attended by representatives of Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Islamic, Jain, Jewish, Muslim, Sikh and Zoroastrian investment and development funds. There will also be secular observers including the World Bank, Citigroup, Rabobank and several major foundations from the US and Europe.

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