Church explores responsible investment idea

By on January 1, 2006

Mississauga, Ont.
The Council of General Synod (CoGS) will ask the national church’s eco-justice committee to request Kairos, a Canadian ecumenical justice group, to research the activities of companies “believed to be contributing to ongoing violence in Israel and Palestine,” as well as those “contributing to ongoing peace and economic stability” in that region.
The resolution was passed at the November meeting of CoGS; it states that the eco-justice committee, along with the financial management development investment sub-committee, should “explore a range of socially responsible investment strategies, including corporate engagement and positive investment or divestment.”
During a debate on the motion, some members raised concerns about why Israel was being singled out when human rights abuses are also happening elsewhere around the world.
Bishop Sue Moxley of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, who sponsored the resolution, said it focused on Israel because the original motion on which it was based had come from the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC), which had received a report on the Middle East from the Anglican Peace and Justice Network. The ACC had adopted a recommendation that churches put pressure on firms that contribute to Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories, including the removal of investment funds in these companies as a last resort. The resolution, which was passed unanimously, also recommended the same action for companies that support violence against innocent Israelis.
“It’s a very moderate approach to the issue of investments,” said Bishop Moxley.
Archdeacon Dennis Drainville, who supported the resolution, added: “When we’re speaking about responsible investment, we’re not talking about divestment.”
Meanwhile, CoGS also approved an eco-justice committee resolution supporting the Kairos water campaign for 2005-2006 and encouraging dioceses and parishes to use materials available from www.kairoscanada.org.

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