Handout 2: Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility
From the website of the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (www.iccr.org) and used with permission. The Unitarian Universalist Association, the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee, and the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Shelter Rock (sponsor of the Unitarian Universalist Funding Program) are all members of this organization.
The Connection between Faith and Investing
The tradition of faith- or values-based investing is centuries old, even if it wasn't formally defined as such. Religious investors from Jewish, Christian and Islamic faiths as well as many indigenous cultures have always carefully considered the impact of their financial decisions on others and have formal guidelines prohibiting investments that violate their traditions or beliefs.
But while ethical investing, or what is now more commonly known as socially responsible investing, may have been born in faith institutions, ICCR's current membership has grown beyond the universe of religious investors to include like-minded mainstream institutional investors who recognize the moral and ethical repercussions of their financial decisions. Affiliation with a faith tradition is not a requisite for ICCR membership.
Rather, our faith heritage is embodied in our coalition’s inspiration to seek justice and act on behalf of those who are more vulnerable; it is felt in our member-wide gatherings as we pause for an invocation to remind us of, as one member puts it, "the gift" we are given to do this important work; and it resides in our abiding faith and our persistent conviction that corporations are not only capable of accomplishing great things in the world, they are bound to by the social license granted them. Our role is to remind them of this pact…
What We Do and How We Do It
What ICCR members do
We harness our collective influence as shareowners in Fortune 500 companies to improve corporate decision making on environmental and social issues.
…Effective corporate engagement requires research, preparation and, above all, persistence.
Our strategies and methods
Investor engagements refer to a variety of strategies including, but not limited to:
In-person meetings or telephone dialogues are the most common way ICCR members conduct their corporate engagements.
… ICCR convenes roundtable discussions bringing together relevant stakeholders to advance a specific industry-wide issue of mutual concern. Generally these discussions include representatives from industry, NGOs, government and civil society…
Proxy resolutions (or shareholder proposals)
[These] are generally used as a last resort when investor concerns aren't adequately addressed by management. Resolutions appear on the company's proxy statement and are voted on by all shareholders at the company’s annual shareholder meeting. By virtue of their public nature, resolutions can be an effective press/PR lever…
Investor Statements and Letters
Statements and letters that are endorsed by large groups of institutional investors are used to underscore the importance of an issue or to flag a specific action investors are requesting from a company or sector. Often, but not always, these statements and letters are made public.