Churches used financial leverage to change BA uniform policy

By staff writers
December 12, 2007

Churches used financial leverage to force British Airways to change its uniform policy, according to a new website aimed at making the investment activities of churches in the UK more transparent.

The Church Investors Group (CIG) made up of representatives of the major church denominations - and with combined assets of £12 billion - has launched its new website which sets out for the first time the ethical investment approach of members.

It also includes responses to some recent controversial issues. Amongst them it explains how CIG members have been responding to the call to develop ethical policies related to investment issues connected to Israel/Palestine and investment in arms-related companies.

However, it also sets out how financial leverage has been used to further the specifically religious interests of Christians.

On the new website CIG cites the example of a British Airways members of staff who was not allowed to wear gold cross jewellery in line with BA's company uniform policy which banned all jewellery.

CIG suggests that it took up the case with British Airways, and persuaded it to make an special exemption.

"BA listened to our concerns and amended its uniform policy in light of conversations with faith investors" the website claims.

"This is an important new resource that will help the Churches to ensure their investment portfolios reflect the moral stance and teachings of the Christian faith," said Bill Seddon, Church Investors Group Deputy Chair. "It is a way we can share our work with Church members."

The CIG represents many mainstream Church denominations and organisations in Britain and Ireland. It has 31 members with combined assets of around £12 billion. Each member has its own investment policy but members work together on issues of 'common concern'.

"The Church Investors website should help people to see how we are responding," said Bill Seddon. "But it also enables us to have a dialogue with the churches so we can hear about people’s concerns."

The website also provides details of research projects and trustee training events.

Further information is available on the website

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