Responsible and ethical investment

The Trust’s investments provide a financial return to fund the activities of the Trust.  Our approach to investment is to balance the need to protect the value of the Trust while taking a responsible and ethical approach to investing, taking into account environmental, social and governance issues.  Currently the Trust is spending capital as well as income.  This should not be seen as a decision to ‘spend out’.  Rather it is kept regularly under review by the Board.

Investment objectives

There are three main objectives to the Trust’s investment strategy:

  • To achieve a total financial return which exceeds the Trust’s benchmarks.
  • To take a responsible and ethical approach to investing
  • To develop the social investment market.

The Trust actively engages with the investee companies where possible, both through voting through our investment managers to promote responsible corporate governance and also working with networks of other investors, in particular the Charity Responsible Investment Network and the Church Investors Group, to engage directly with investee companies on issues such as the Living Wage, child labour and climate change.

  • The Trust is fully aware of the significant negative impacts of climate change and the need to take action with regard to fossil fuel company investments.
  • The Trust is committed to engaging more intensively with public policy makers with the aim of creating a structural and regulatory environment that supports the transition to a low carbon economy.
  • The Trust seeks to make investments which have a positive environmental impact, subject to the availability and suitability of such investments.

The Trust works with its existing networks, namely Charity Responsible Investment Network (CRIN) and the Church Investor Group, and our investment manager to engage more intensively with investee companies that make a significant contribution to greenhouse gas emissions, whether producers or users, to encourage them to move to a low carbon economy.  Where the companies are not seen to be taking their responsibilities seriously to move to a low carbon economy, then the Trust will divest.

The Trust has not signed up to the Divest Invest campaign as it prefers to maintain its shareholder voice.  However, it recognises the value of the campaign and will continue to keep abreast of developments.

As well as specific climate change issues, the Trust considers investments which have a positive social and environmental impact.

The Trust continues to play an active role in encouraging other charitable organisations to adopt a responsible approach to investing, sharing our learning both through existing networks and by speaking at events.

The Trust’s Investment Manager produces a regular Sustainability Analysis report which grades both the different sectors and also the investments within the different sectors, on an environmental, sustainable and governance (ESG) basis.  The Trust will endeavour to move its investments to those with better ESG performance.

The Trust takes a responsible and ethical approach to investing, considering environmental, social and governance issues.

The Trust avoids knowingly investing in companies which are associated with human rights violations or engage in activities that cause social harm.  This includes companies whose activities may give cause for concern and which does not address those concerns, such as the possible use of child labour.

Specifically the Trust avoids investments in companies which are materially involved (materiality levels are agreed by Trustees) in the production or sale of armaments, tobacco, alcohol, gambling or pornography.

The Trust does not hold any government bonds in countries with high military expenditure. The Trust will not hold more than 5% of its investments in pooled funds (excluding property funds and social investment funds) because of the difficulty of being sure which stocks they contain.