Socially and Environmentally Responsible Investing ~ Spring 2018 Update

In the fall of 2015, the Task Force on Socially and Environmentally Responsible Investing issued its Final Report and submitted four resolutions to the November 2015 239th New York Diocesan Convention. Among the resolutions, two were to urge the Trustees of the Diocese to take actions as necessary and appropriate to cause the Diocese of New York to adopt sustainable investing as an investment policy goal and become a signatory to United Nations Principles for Responsible Investing, and to urge the Trustees of the Diocese to establish a community development investment program. In addition, Convention resolved that New York Diocesan Funds not be invested in companies that derive 10% or more of their revenues from the extraction or distribution of coal.

Since that time, the following actions have been taken to comply with the Resolutions at Convention and the Task Force’s recommendations, all with regard to the funds managed by Church Investment Group.

  1. The Trustees of the Diocese directed that coal companies be eliminated from the investment portfolio; this was accomplished in 2015 / 2016.
  2. The Trustees of the Diocese adopted a program of Environmental, Social and Governance Investing, and approved implementation of such a program in late 2016. The Diocese of New York is now employing ESG strategies in its U.S., International Developed, Emerging market equities and core and opportunistic fixed income investments.
  3. The Trustees of the Diocese decided to minimize the Diocesan portfolio’s exposure to tobacco, firearms, and fossil fuel companies. The fossil fuel divestiture occurred in January 2017.
  4. The Investment Committee of the Diocese of New York implemented proxy voting on directly held investments in accordance with the proxy guidelines of the Executive Council’s Committee on Corporate Social Responsibility in 2018.

With regard to the other Resolutions

  1. The Diocese continues to study becoming a signatory to the UN Principles of Responsible Investment (UNPRI) and notes that more than 80% of the managers for the funds managed by Church Investment Group are signatories.
  2.  The Diocese is actively engaged in developing a community investment program, and, consistent with the Task Force Report, has been meeting with community development financial institutions (“CDFI’s”) in the New York area.

In summary, The Trustees of the Diocese of New York have responded (and will continue to respond) to the 2015 Convention resolutions that call for guidelines reflecting “…the challenge of responsible stewardship and to the Church’s ethical teachings, the Diocese makes investment decisions taking into consideration both economic and financial factors on social justice and environmental justice factors. The Diocese is a steward of the financial gifts it has received. The Diocese has the responsibility to cultivate these gifts in order to promote the Gospel and to support, further and increase the Diocesan mission and its impact on others.”