Scottish churches and investors tackle practicalities of 'banking on justice'

By staff writers
23 Mar 2010

The church-based investor coalition, the Ecumenical Council for Corporate Responsibility (ECCR) and the Church and Society Council of the Church of Scotland, are delighted with the response to their recent ‘Banking on Justice’ conference.

The two bodies, one a historic denomination, and one a movement-based Christian initiative, organised the event because "the operation of global finance too often harms the poorest people and the poorest countries".

Speakers at the well-attended all-day gathering at St George's West Church, Edinburgh, addressed issues of justice and injustice in global finance and how churches and others may invest for a fairer and more sustainable future using ethical and socially responsible models of finance and investment.

Those present heard speakers from Christian Aid Scotland, Co-operative Financial Services, Triodos Bank, the Ethical Property Company and ethical investment specialists EIRIS, as well as from the Church of Scotland and ECCR.

Also supporting the ground-breaking event were Action of Churches Together in Scotland (ACTS), the official ecumenical body, the Centre for Theology and Public Issues at the University of Edinburgh, the Iona Community (http://www.iona.org.uk/), and the Scottish Catholic International Aid Fund (SCIAF).

There was considerable interest in the growing pay differentials within multinational companies following publication on the previous day of the Church Investors Group report on excessive pay.

The Rev Ian Galloway, Convener of the Church and Society Council of the Church of Scotland, who chaired the conference, said: "Communities of faith ought to consider the social and environmental impacts of our financial system, in which we all participate. We urgently need forms of banking and investment that lead to more socially just and sustainable outcomes."

Ecumenical Council for Corporate Responsibility Co-ordinator Miles Litvinoff added: "Socially responsible investment and ethical banking can help raise standards of corporate responsibility, not just in the UK but worldwide. This conference has helped show that there are increasingly practical ways to make money work for good, and churches can be an important part of the changes we need."

ECCR is a church-based investor coalition and membership organisation of the British and Irish churches which works for economic justice and environmental sustainability through corporate and investor responsibility. ECCR undertakes research, advocacy and dialogue with companies and investors. It seeks to influence company policy and practice and to raise awareness among the British and Irish churches, the investor community and the general public. For more information see: http://www.eccr.org.uk

The Church of Scotland’s 2009 report Justice and Markets is available here (*.PDF Adobe Acrobat document): http://www.churchofscotland.org.uk/councils/churchsociety/downloads/csju...

ECCR’s 2008 guide for faith communities Investment and Engaging with Companies is available at: http://www.eccr.org.uk/module-htmlpages-display-pid-48.html

The Church Investors Group report, The Ethics of Executive Remuneration: A Guide for Christian Investors, by Richard Higginson and David Clough, was published in March 2010. See: http://www.churchinvestorsgroup.org.uk

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