Projects overview
Americas projects
Asia projects
China projects
Education and water
Faith in food
Faiths for Green Africa
Green pilgrimage network
Living churchyards
Long-term plans
Major ARC events
Religious forests
Sacred gifts
Sacred land
Other projects
ARC / World Bank Alliance
Benedictine network
3iG key issues
Do your own environmental audit
Sound of Many Waters: UK Catholic eco-action
Abuja Declaration
Norway Process
Faith & Finance
Goroka Declaration
Valuesquest programme 2014-2015
ARC Home > Projects > Archive :
| Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility | WWF and ethical investment | Forest Stewardship Council | Archdiocese of Birmingham | Bishop of Oxford | Campaign Exxon/Mobil | Citi Islamic Investment Bank

The Bishop of Oxford

The Church Commissioners of England administer land holdings valued in 1990 at £1.7bn

In 1989 the Bishop of Oxford, the Rt Rev Richard Harries, asked the Church Commissioners of England to re-evaluate their investment portfolio. For some time there had been disquiet in the Church of England over investment in South Africa.

The Bishop wanted action over investment in South Africa and over the land ownership policies of the Commissioners in England. He wanted them to make land available for low-cost housing at a price below market value, in keeping with the Christian message.

The Church Commissioners of England administer vast estates and large funds. At the end of 1990 their land holdings were valued at £1.7bn, their loans at £265m, and their other investments at £780m. These gave a return of £164m which paid half the salaries of the serving clergy, and almost all their housing and pension costs.

The Bishop’s case went to court and a judgement was made. Whilst recognising the moral force of the Bishop’s argument it stated that the Commissioners were not a housing charity, and that their obligation was to make the best possible return from their investments to allow the Church of England to better accomplish its Christian goals.

This apparent stalemate sharply demonstrated the challenge of ethical investment and began a trend for investment reform.

< to previous page to top of page to next page >
ARC site map