Ethical Investment Policy

(The Policy relates to investments in the Scottish Episcopal Church Unit Trust Pool)

Policy approved by General Synod 2013:

The Investment Committee recognises its responsibilities optimising investment returns for the SEC Unit Trust Pool whilst striving to meet reasonable ethical investment expectations.

The Investment Committee aims to invest in companies that will not only successfully develop their business financially in the interests of shareholders, but also

  • demonstrate responsible employment and good corporate governance practices;
  • are conscientious regarding environmental performance and human rights; and
  • act with sensitivity to the communities in which they operate.

The Investment Committee has also adopted strict ‘negative’ criteria as a significant element of the Ethical Investment Policy.  No direct investment will be made in companies whose main business is in any of the following restricted categories:

  • Armaments
  • Gambling
  • Tobacco
  • Pornography

It is recognised that many companies will be involved, to some extent, in businesses in these restricted categories.  Investment in such companies is deemed inappropriate where in excess of 15% of a company’s turnover is derived from businesses in the restricted categories.

The Investment Committee will exercise its discretion regarding exclusion from direct investment any company where it has material concerns regarding the ethical acceptability of the company’s business model or operational activities.

In achieving these aims the Committee is dependent on its Fund Managers, and in particular the Managers’ active engagement with company management, both directly and via company AGMs, to influence the corporate governance and ethical practices in the companies in which the UTP invests.

Changes since 2013:

General Synod 2017 agreed a number of resolutions in respect of Climate Change Action and Fossil Fuel Investments.  A further restricted category of investment has therefore been added to those detailed above: no direct investment will be made in companies deriving over 10% of their revenues from the extraction of thermal coal or tar sands.  A copy of the report discussed by General Synod and the resolutions passed can be downloaded from the SEC Website.

An Ethical Investment Advisory Group was appointed following discussions at General Synod 2019 and is reviewing the Ethical Investment Policy.

In 2020 the last direct investment in a company involved in the extraction of fossil fuels was sold and agreements put in place with the Fund Managers to ensure that no further such direct investments are made.

The Ethical Investment Advisory Group proposed a Policy Framework for Investment in Pooled Funds to General Synod in 2021.  The Policy Framework was approved by General Synod.  The Policy Framework document is available here.