A guide has been released that urges churches, faith groups and religious communities across the UK to use this October’s National Ethical Investment Week (NEIW) as a taster for incorporating sustainable, ethical and green measures into their finances.
Produced by the UK Sustainable Investment and Finance Association (UKSIF) in collaboration with investment managers CCLA and the Ecumenical Council for Corporate Responsibility (ECCR), Action Guide for Churches aims to raise the awareness of ethical investment with religious groups.
“Taking green and ethical considerations into account when making investment and financial decisions, and encouraging individuals and organisations in your community to do so too, is one way of applying Christian principles throughout your own life”, the guide says.
The fifth annual NEIW takes place October 14-20, and is expected to build on the encouraging participation figures from last year’s event. Over 100 organisations supported NEIW 2011, with over 35 events and activities taking place across the UK.
“With so many people now interested in how their money is being used, we need the help of churches and faith groups to make this the biggest ever NEIW”, said Penny Shepherd, UKSIF chief executive.
“They are in a position to play a vital role in encouraging people to consider the positive difference they can make to society and the environment by choosing green and ethical options.”
The guide highlights the many aspects in which ethical, sustainable or green finance chimes perfectly with religious values. Jeremy Newbegin, director of The Ethical Partnership, is just one of a number of specialist ethical financial advisers that B> has spoken with who have said that religion had led them naturally to ethical investment.
The UKSIF guide urges groups to spread awareness of NEIW 2012 through social media, blogs and newsletters in the run-up to the event. It also asks ministers conducting sermons between now and October to plan at least one session around green and ethical investment, and includes “a range of worship materials” for them to use.
“There is a natural alignment between the aims of green and ethical investment and Christian values like stewardship”, commented Helen Wildsmith, head of ethical and responsible investment at CCLA.
“NEIW offers an excellent opportunity for churches and congregations to explore these ideas.”
Of course, though, ethical investment is in no way exclusively for individuals with religious beliefs. B> is confident that anyone who learnt what their money is going towards in mainstream financial vehicles would opt for more sustainable, ethical or green options in an instant.
Our recent Guide to Sustainable Investment goes into more detail about the notion.