Leaders seek to educate Presbyterians about talks with corporations
by Rick Jones | Presbyterian News Services
LOUISVILLE – The Office of Faith-Based Investing is releasing a new video that helps describe the church’s ongoing conversations with corporations. The video will be posted online and shown to churches and organizations across the country.
Church leaders hope it will provide Presbyterians with a clear understanding of the dialogue that takes place with companies.
Presbyterian News Service recently discussed the video as well as faith-based investing with coordinator Rob Fohr.
What is faith-based investing?
Faith-based investing is the idea of managing all aspects of the resources God has entrusted in us, including our financial resources. We do this by engaging corporations in which the church, through the Board of Pensions and Presbyterian Foundation, owns stock and ensuring their work is in line with our mission goals set by the General Assembly.
Why should Presbyterians be involved in this type of work?
God calls us to live in harmony with creation, seek benefit for the poor and oppressed, be a voice for the voiceless and work for justice. As Presbyterians, that gives us the dual responsibility of standing by our values while providing for the economic needs of our families, churches and charitable institutions.
Why is it important for the church to continue these ongoing discussions with corporations?
We have seen real change stem from ongoing discussions and engagements throughout the years. This history has led to some remarkable success. Over time, companies have started looking at their sustainability and impact on the environment, implemented human rights policies and ceased operations in certain conflict areas. Change takes time but engagement from faith-based and values-based investors has made a real difference in the corporate sector.
Do you see progress in the conversations taking place at the corporate level?
Yes. Recently, fossil fuel companies, like Chevron, have committed to more reporting on the risks related to climate change. We’ve also seen companies adopt or change their policies on human rights to make them more robust.
Why should divestment be the last action we take?
Divestment is an important tool, but it is the last tool. Divesting from a company means we lose any future opportunity to engage with them, to dialogue with them, to try to influence their policies and practices. We also have a clear process in place set by the General Assembly, and practice discernment when analyzing our engagement with each company.
How will this new video be used?
We hope this video will provide a brief introduction to Presbyterian faith-based investing and help people gain a better understanding of our work, and inspire them to want to learn more.
How can churches stay connected with these ongoing corporate discussions?
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