Church of England’s Edward Mason joins Generation Investment Management

Leading RI figure adds “muscle” to Al Gore-chaired boutique

Edward Mason, the Head of Responsible Investment at the Church Commissioners, is joining Generation Investment Management, the sustainability investment boutique co-founded and chaired by former US Vice President Al Gore.

It comes after the firm said it would add “muscle” to its engagement efforts.

Mason, who has become the public face of the Church of England’s engagement with high profile companies such as Exxon and Glencore, has joined London-based Generation as Director of Engagement and Impact Reporting.

The Church of England’s press office said the Commissioners would be looking to replace him in the role.

Mason had been with the Church Commissioners, which runs an £8.3bn (€9.4bn) portfolio for 11 years.

A former diplomat, he started out as Secretary to the Church of England Ethical Investment Advisory Group (EIAG).

He was then appointed as the first ever Head of Responsible Investment at the Church Commissioners. He was involved in getting BlackRock to join the Climate Action 100+ initiative.

His involvement with climate-related engagement began with Aiming for A in 2013 and then subsequently with CA100+.

In 2017 Mason spearheaded efforts on a shareholder proposal on climate disclosure at Exxon that won 62% shareholder support; it was the first time that major shareholders like BlackRock, Vanguard and JP Morgan Asset Management had voted against management at an oil and gas major on climate change.

He won the inaugural ICGN Global Stewardship Champion award for this work in 2018.

Generation has typically stayed away from publicity about its engagement, but there have been signs recently that this approach was about to change. Co-CIO Mark Ferguson has called for an end to the “quiet diplomacy” approach to investor-corporate engagement .

And Senior Partner and co-Founder David Blood told RI in an interview late last year: “We feel that it's our responsibility to engage, and you'll see us put a lot more muscle into that.”