Just the Facts: Morally Responsible Investing

Understanding Morally Responsible Investing: Just the Facts. Methods of morally responsible investing…

“…A campaign of sanctions which highlights the moral unacceptability of Israel’s Occupation could have a great impact, eventually impelling governments to impose economic sanctions while creating a climate difficult for businesses (beginning with Caterpillar) to continue function.” (www.icahd.org) As responsible owners and investors, the churches have multiple economic options. The dictionary defines divestment as “to free of,” “to sell off,” “to dispossess”. Today, there are many methods of investment and divestment including these five strategies:

  • Avoidance strategy, i.e. avoiding investment in companies on moral grounds.
  • Involvement strategy, i.e. exercising influence and pressure on companies and corporations in shareholder meetings to actively promote moral and social responsibility and accountability.
  • Alternative strategy or selective investment, i.e. establishing alternative investment funds that promote justice and peace.
  • Withdrawal strategy, i.e. simply pulling investments on moral grounds.
  • Reinvestment strategy, i.e. moving the money on moral grounds from investments in corporations complicit of wrongdoing to organizations that engage in morally responsible business, or to reinvest in the organization or company after positive change occurs.

What Methods Does Sabeel Recommend?As the next logical step, we encourage morally responsible investment along the lines of the above mentioned points, which basically translates into selective divestment — the model that has been advocated by the World Council of Churches, the Presbyterian Church USA, the Episcopal Church (USA), as well as other organizations working for a just peace in the region… 

1. Therefore, Sabeel calls on churches to exert pressure on companies and corporations to discontinue business activities that:

  1. provide products, services or technology that sustain, support or maintain the occupation;
  2. have established facilities or operations on occupied land
  3. provide products, services, or financial support for the establishment, expansion, or maintenance of settlements on occupied land or settlement related infrastructure;
  4. provide products, services or financial backing to groups that commit violence against innocent civilians; or
  5. provide finances or assist in the construction of Israel’s separation wall or settlement infrastructure.

2. When such pressures fail to yield positive results, Sabeel calls on churches to divest/disinvest from companies and corporations that do not respond and comply with morally responsible investment and business practices. 

This passage is excerpted from “Sabeel’s Call for Morally Responsible Investment”

Learning More 

To learn more you can start by reading Sabeel-Kairos UK’s“Morally Responsible Investment in Israel and Palestine”. To did deeper into the issue you can read “BDS Battle Heats Up on New Front — Socially Responsible Investing” by Nathan Guttman for Forward. And the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) has a database and guide to screening your own investments. ​

To go deeper, we are developing an extensive list of Additional Resources at the bottom of this week’s entry as well as a YouTube playlist on the subject.