What is the connection between faith
ICCR members believe that as responsible
stewards they must invest their saved resources -- pensions
and endowments -- in ways that are consistent with their faith
values. Since their faith calls them to promote peace, economic
justice and stewardship of the universe, they believe they
should not profit from production or sale of unsafe or harmful
products; from exploitation of human weakness; from violation
of human rights, production for war, racism, sexual exploitation
or destruction of the environment and so on. They believe
they should encourage safe and healthy production methods,
forgiveness of debt for poor nations and investment in sustainable
development, equal employment opportunity, diversity in management
and in boards of directors and payment of living wages.
ICCR began in the early 1970s in part
as an outgrowth of opposition to the Vietnam War. Like anti-war
students of the day, progressive clergy questioned whether
churches were profiting off the war, which most ICCR members
opposed in 1971 when ICCR began. This questioning led ICCR
members to challenge military contractors on their production
of nuclear weapons (a top priority of ICCR members during
the 1980s), foreign military sales and development of space
weapons. Similarly, ICCR member opposition to apartheid in
South Africa was an extension of the longstanding opposition
of U.S. faith communities to slavery, discrimination and segregation.
Today ICCR members steadfastly promote environmental justice,
access to capital, access to health care, diversity on boards
of directors and an end to global warming and sweatshop abuses.
Each action taken by ICCR members, has a basis in the beliefs
of the ICCR member participating in the action.
Does socially responsible investing result in lower financial
According to a recent report from the Social Investment Forum, socially responsible investing (SRI) is thriving in the United States, growing at a faster pace than the
broader universe of all investment assets under professional management. Roughly 11 percent of assets under
professional management in the U.S. – nearly one out of every nine dollars – are now involved in SRI. SRI assets rose more than 324 percent from $639 billion in 1995 (the year of the first Report on
Socially Responsible Investing Trends in the United States) to $2.71 trillion in 2007. During the same
period, the broader universe of assets under professional management increased less than 260 percent
from $7 trillion to $25.1 trillion.
From 2005-2007 alone, SRI assets increased more than 18 percent while the broader universe of
professionally managed assets increased less than 3 percent.
SIF's 2007 Trends report identifies $2.71 trillion in total assets under management using one or more of
the three core socially responsible investing strategies—screening, shareholder advocacy, and community
investing. In the past two years, social investing has enjoyed healthy growth, increasing from $2.29 trillion
in 2005. About one out of every nine dollars under professional management in the United States today is
involved in socially responsible investing—11 percent of the $25.1
How can an individual invest in a socially responsible manner?
Today, individual investors can choose from a number of socially responsible
mutual funds and portfolio managers. Many of these advertise their services through ICCR's free, online database of SRI Service Providers.
What is a shareholder resolution?
Shareholders are part of corporate ownership and have the right to participate in annual meetings. A company's management places issues on the ballot on at these meetings, but shareholders have the same right. These proposals, or written requests to management, are filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) before they are placed on the ballot.
Resolutions can request reports from management or propose that the company consider changes in practices or policies. Shareholder resolutions deal with a variety of issues, including diversity, environmental practices, and sweatshop labor.
Who are the members of ICCR?
ICCR members include nearly 300 faith-based institutional investors including denominations,
religious communities, pension funds, healthcare corporations,
foundations, dioceses with combined portfolios worth an estimated
$100 billion. ICCR and its members work with conscientious
individual and institutional investors as well as advocacy
organizations, who share all or part of ICCR's commitment
to a just and peaceful world. These partner groups include
pension funds; socially responsible mutual funds and portfolio
management firms; labor unions; foundations; civil rights
and environmental organizations; human rights advocacy organizations;
health care professionals and public health advocates; food
safety advocates; peace groups; community economic development
organizations; women's groups and local citizens organizations
from around the world.