Religious endowments move to the forefront of ethical investing

Churches and their endowments have long been leaders in socially responsible investing, but those efforts are increasingly moving beyond divestment into more proactive approaches, including impact investing and corporate engagement.

In addition to negative screening and divestment, religious organizations are embracing shareholder engagement, thematic investments — choosing to invest in companies or industries that are aligned with their organization’s goals — and impact investing. The proactive turn has been encouraged by growing investor sophistication, better coalition building, and the Pope, who encouraged Catholic organizations to embrace impact
investing in a 2014 speech.

“I think that was a turning point for several of the clients that we work with, where they started thinking in a more proactive framework,” Kristine Pelletier, a member of NEPC’s endowment and foundation practice, told Foundation and Endowment Report. “A lot of institutions felt that call to action, and maybe that put more fire into some initiatives that were already going on.”

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Published by Money Management Report/Pageant Media.