Church investors in UK and Germany sign co-operation on ethical investment

Partnership agreement calls for “strong global voice” for church investors

Church investment groups in the UK and Germany have signed a wide-ranging partnership agreement that deepens their relationship and stresses the importance of ethical investment.

The cooperation was signed last month between Bill Seddon, chair of the Church Investors Group in the UK and Heinz Thomas Striegler, chair of the Arbeitskreis Kirchlicher Investoren (AKI), the German Protestant Church Investors Group.

The two bodies are agreed on the need for a “strong, global voice” for church investors and for them to engage effectively with business outside their home markets – and the “importance of sharing thinking on ethical investment”.

With this in mind, the two organisations have agreed to deepen their relationship. It means the two bodies’ secretariats will share corporate engagement plans and priorities, at least annually, and where possible provide the other organisation’s members “the opportunity to join their engagement projects”, according to the cooperation agreement.Each will nominate a member of its board or steering group to lead on CIGAKI cooperation, and members of both bodies will be able to attend each other’s meetings.

Last month the AKI said it is updating and extending its guideline for ethically sustainable investment for the third time. Striegler, of the Protestant Church in Hesse and Nassau (EKHN), was recently confirmed as chair of the AKI until 2021

The agreement comes as Seddon, who sits on the Church of England’s Ethical Investment Advisory Group (EIAG), is stepping down at the end of this year from the Central Finance Board (CFB) of the Methodist Church – the fund managers of the Methodist Church in Great Britain – after 30 years as chief executive.

The role of faith investors was underlined last week by the support given to migrant workers campaigner Andy Hall by the US group the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR).