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ARC's Zug Faith in Finance meeting in pictures and in the news

November 5, 2017:

Launching the guidelines to faith-consistent investing in Zug. PHOTO CREDIT SIIA/Stokasmud

A global movement aimed at shifting billions of dollars of faith-based investments into initiatives supporting sustainable development and the environment was launched last week at the beautiful Lassalle-Haus in the hills outside Zug, Switzerland. This short film below tells what it was all about.


The whole meeting, October 30-31, in pictures

The procession and the launch of the Zug guidelines in pictures


"The October gathering of representatives from over 500 faith investment groups related to more than 30 faith traditions from eight religions “was like a rock plunged into the center of Lake Zug in the middle of the night,” the Rev. Dr. Patrick Duggan executive director of the United Church of Christ Church Building & Loan Fund wrote in a letter to the organiser. “It happened without being seen, but the waves rippled outward to every shore.” Read the full story on the Church Building and Loan Fund website.

30 traditions from eight major faiths, plus leading secular impact investors and others, all launching the Zug Guidelines October 31, 2017 PHOTO CREDIT SIIA/Stokasmud
Leap of Faith on RTE: interview with Martin Palmer, ARC, by presenter Michael Comyn on RTE after 21 minutes. Broadcast November 17th, 2017.

Thought for the Week on RTHK in Hong Kong by Martin Lachmann of Amity Foundation, DECEMBER 2017.

"Green investors and right-wing sceptics clash on the meaning of scripture" By Bruce Clark, The Economist, O1 NOVEMBER 2017.
In the Swiss town of Zug, a high-powered gathering of faith leaders, investment gurus and environmentalists met to consider how bodies with ample funds at their disposal, including religious organisations, could use that wealth for the benefit of life on earth. One of the star speakers was Cardinal Peter Turkson (pictured), a Ghanaian who was recently put in charge of a powerful new Vatican agency (an amalgamation of four others) that is charged with “promoting integral human development”. Read the full story.


FEATURE-Can religions help in the fight against climate change? By Anna Pujol-Mazzini, Thomson Reuters October 31, 2017.
Historically, faith-based funds have avoided investing in alcohol, weapons, tobacco and, more recently, fossil fuels that contribute to climate change. Last month, 40 Roman Catholic groups in countries including Australia, South Africa and the United States said they were shunning investments in fossil fuels and switching to greener energy. But beyond avoiding certain types of investments, faith groups are also increasingly looking to actively invest in projects that protect the planet, such as renewable energy, sustainable agriculture or forest protection. “Deforestation is not stopped by divesting (from fossil fuels). Somebody else will buy your stock,” said Gunnela Hahn, the head of sustainable investment for the Church of Sweden. “We want to invest in the solution.” Read the full story here.

World’s religious leaders ‘go further’ in commitment to ethical investment by HATTIE WILLIAMS, Church Times 03 NOVEMBER 2017
"Rather than focus on how disinvestment from fossil fuels can help to alleviate climate change and protect the environment, representatives of Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, Daoist, Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, and Shinto traditions resolved to invest positively in environmental and sustainable companies and projects. This intention was set out in the Zug Guidelines on Faith-Consistent Investment, released on Tuesday, 500 years after Martin Luther was thought to have nailed his 95 theses to the door of a chapel in Wittenberg, Germany. It asks: “What do you do with wealth to make a better planet?” Read the full article here.

R20 links with Alliance of Religions and Conservation as faith groups get into impact investing by Vibeka Mair, Responsible Investor 07 NOVEMBER 2017
"Attendees at the meeting said that impact investment was a modern concept of a very old idea started by faith communities, who needed to rekindle the tradition. Gunnela Hahn, CEO of the Church of Sweden, said: “I think we, as faith organisations, ought to be stronger and more visible in translating our spiritual leadership into the investment world... We acknowledge the spiritual dimension of life and that mother earth provides of with all the beauty and richness we need, if we are wise enough to use her resources properly. We are values driven and have a mission to make the world a better place. And we have a long-term perspective, not of 3-12 months but perhaps a thousand of years or even eternity.”” Read the full article here.

"With 2017 seeing a global barrage of political, economic and social upheaval, the breakthrough in Zug highlights the role faith-consistent investment can play in helping stabilise a turbulent world. By asking, ‘What do you do with wealth to make a better planet?,’ the world’s religious organisations can continue the work set out by the UN in 2015.” Read the full article here. .

ARC's Martin Palmer launches the Zug Guidelines to Faith-consistent investing PHOTO CREDIT SIIA/Stokasmud

Global Faith Alliance to tackle Sustainable Investing by Glenn Leaper in Nordsip Sustainable Investments, 06 NOVEMBER2017
“[The alliance] will enable faith groups to share information, experience, knowledge, research and resources to ensure they put their investments and assets into initiatives to help create a better world for all,” said Palmer. “This initiative is backed by the UN and by many traditions within the religions. [It] will develop a faith response to the challenge of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.” Read the full article .

From green theory to contentious green action by BRUCE CLARKE in The Economist 03 SEPTEMBER 2017
"On October 29th, high-powered faith-based investors will gather in the Swiss town of Zug to consider how they can move from merely avoiding “bad” financial commitments to putting their money in places where it will do environmental good as well as grow. "Given the billions of dollars in assets (land and buildings as well as pension and investment funds) that religions control, their effect on the planet comes at least as much through their actions as their galvanising words. But what actions, exactly? Even among those who concur that it’s a good idea to shift as fast as possible to a fossil-free global economy, there is much disagreement on how to encourage that..." Read the full article .


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

More on the meeting and the Zug Guidelines

Introduction to the Zug Guidelines

The full guidelines.


Biographies of the Delegates

Full agenda and text of presentations.

The Zug Declaration

The Zug Declaration is a call for action for Swiss charitable foundations to use their financial capital to support the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Conventionally, charitable foundations use the returns from their financial assets (invested in a range of standard investment funds and asset classes) to fund their grants and their operational activities. And it is by looking only at the latter that they measure their positive impact. However, the way their sometimes very large assets are invested also has an impact on society and the environment, positive or negative. When they decide to align their invested financial capital to companies and initiatives that support the SDGs (while bringing the returns they need for their financial activities), and by integrating sustainability and impact investing principles into their investment activities, charitable foundations increase their positive impact by significant amounts. And they also take on a leadership role for other asset owners and financial institutions. This declaration is being signed on October 31, 2017, by more than 30 foundations in Zug, Switzerland. It is an initiative by the Swiss Impact Investment Association (SIIA), a non-profit association with a mission

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ZUG: Faith in Finance meeting
Zug, Switzerland October 29 to November 1, 2017. More than 40 faith investment managers will discuss how to invest more positively in sustainable, ethical funds and companies.
ZUG: Agenda and presentations
Agenda and presentations of the Zug Faith in Finance meeting, Oct/Nov 2017
November 2, 2017:
PRESS RELEASE: Major new alliance of religious investment funds creating a better and fairer world
A global movement aimed at shifting billions of dollars of faith-based investments into initiatives supporting sustainable development and the environment has been launched in Zug, Switzerland.