ECCR signs Investor Statement on Supply Chains
On the 3rd anniversary of the collapse of the Rana Plaza building in Bangladesh, ECCR joined with other campaigning and investment bodies in an Investor Statement initiated by our sister body in the United States, the InterFaith Center for Corporate Responsibility. It says “we are reminded of the human rights risks inherent in outsourcing apparel manufacturing to factories with inadequate safeguards to protect workers. Positive changes have been made, particularly through the Accord for Fire and Building Safety. Thorough inspections to detect fire, electrical and structural issues have taken place, but we continue to be concerned by the lack of timely remediation. As investors, we renew our appeal to apparel brands and retailers to use the full measure of their influence to respect and protect the human rights of workers in the garment sector of Bangladesh and throughout their global supply chains, and to provide remedy when those rights have been violated”.
The statement can be found at http://www.iccr.org/sites/default/files/resources_attachments/statement-signatories_0.pdf
Vacancy: Ethical Money Church Development Officer
This is an exciting opportunity to join a unique project which is being delivered by the Ecumenical Council for Corporate Responsibility (ECCR) in collaboration with the Churches and Industry Group Birmingham and Solihull & the Black Country Urban Industrial Mission.
ECCR Annual Review 2014/15
The 2014/15 Annual Review has been published and is available to download here.
Launch of report on Forced Labour, Human Trafficking & The FTSE 100
In partnership with Finance Against Trafficking (FAT) and ECCR corporate members - Us (formerly USPG) and Rathbone Greenbank - the report ‘Forced Labour, Human Trafficking & The FTSE 100’ was launched today – November 20th – at the Financial Times building.
As the Modern Slavery Act 2015 comes into force, companies face unprecedented scrutiny in ensuring their supply chains are free from forced labour and human trafficking. New guidance, within the report gives faith investors the knowledge to challenge companies and ensure they are working to the highest standards in this area and in so doing, help protect some of the world’s most vulnerable people.
Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury said "Modern slavery is a scourge that grossly undermines the inherent and God-given dignity of the human, and we must work urgently to eradicate it from our world. This report highlights that in our globalised economy, any business can be exposed to slavery through its supply chain. Companies that have conducted audits have been shocked to discover that they have been unwitting beneficiaries of slave labour. The transparency in supply chains measure in the Modern Slavery Act is a call to action that I urge British business to seize."
Us. has promoted the report to its worldwide partners here.
Good Money Week Conference in Exeter
Your Faith, Your Finance and the Common Good – ECCR is holding a conference in Exeter on October 24th
during Good Money Week. It will explore the role of money in our
personal life, our churches, our society and its impact on the world
around us. It will provide the opportunity to hear from experts in their
field, participants in ECCR’s Ethical Money Church project and for
interactive dialogue between those who have a particular interest in
faithful stewardship of money and opportunities to use it for the Common
Good. Further details can be found here and bookings made here.
Conference Report - The Cost of Life on Earth: companies, climate change and your money
Over 100 people attended this conference organised by the Oxford group of ECCR at the end of February where Tessa Tennant, co-founder of the UK Sustainable Investment and Finance Association (UKSIF) and Sir Mark Moody Stuart previously chairman of the Royal Dutch/shell group of companies and of Anglo-American plc opened the event and spoke to economic alternatives, green investment and the perspective of industry. Read more...
The Cost of Life on Earth: companies, climate change and your money - A conference organised by the ECCR Oxford Group
How do we use our investments to help tackle the climate crisis and create a more positive world?
27th - 28th February 2015. Read more...
Trafficking, FTSE 100 and sustainable communities
ECCR has launched a new two-phase Project, in partnership with Us (formerly USPG), Finance Against Trafficking (FAT) and Rathbone Greenbank. It will raise awareness of human trafficking amongst a number of groups and demonstrate the link between UK businesses and the vulnerable communities around the world which they impact. Phase 1 will focus on providing information and guidance specifically aimed at corporate investors, investment managers and Boards of FTSE 100 companies. Phase 2 will be about re-casting the information and guidance in order to make it particularly relevant and useful for faith groups, individuals within congregations, civil society groups and individual savers and investors who will be encouraged and provided with tools to engage with companies and encourage greater corporate responsibility on this issue. More details can be found in the press release which can be found here.
Letters sent by ECCR Chair to leaders of key UK political parties about shareholder empowerment
Chair of ECCR, Bishop Michael Doe, has today written to all three leaders of the UK political parties in view of the forthcoming election. He asks:
- What proposals the parties have for facilitating greater shareholder involvement with their own investments;
- Where investments continue to be pooled (pension funds, investment trust, life funds, OEICs), what steps would the parties take to ensure fund managers kept companies ethical standards under review, and take account of them in evaluating the long-term performance of investments?
- How do the parties envisage fund managers could report to their fund providers about such dialogues?
See the letter written to David Cameron – it can be found here.
ECCR has joined the shareholder resolutions that have successfully been filed at BP and Shell by the Church Investors Group (CIG). These will now feature on the ballot papers for both companies’ AGMs later this year. The resolutions are designed to be stretching for the companies and are intended to help manage the risks and opportunities that the transition to a low carbon economy will pose to their investment value. The full text of both resolutions is available on the CIG website - www.churchinvestorsgroup.org.uk.
53 institutional co-filers were identified by the Barrow Cadbury Trust, the Diocese of Westminster, Jesuits in Britain, Polden-Puckham Charitable Foundation and the United Reformed Church Ministers’ Pension Trust together with ECCR, ICCR, and SHARE. ShareAction - Louise Rouse, and Client Earth also provided invaluable assistance as part of their ongoing work programme. The full list of co-filers can be found here.”
Christian perspectives on tax
John Arnold, Executive Director of ECCR, spoke appeared on the Share Radio programme 'Faith and Finance' in early January 2015. A recording of the show can be found here.
Economic Resilience and the Ethical Money Churches Project
ECCR’s Executive Director, John Arnold, joined others invited by Friends Provident Foundation for the launch of "Economic resilience in 13 Short Lessons". Read more...
ECCR celebrates its first 25 years
Supporters and partners gathered at Southwark Cathedral on October 22nd to celebrate ECCR's Silver Anniversary. The afternoon began with a Thanksgiving Service at which ECCR Patron Bishop Richard Harries preached on what has been achieved so far, and the many challenges which remain. His sermon can be found here. ECCR’s other Patron, Bishop William Kenney, gave the Blessing.
The Order of Service, which contains resources which may be more generally useful in acts of worship, can be found here.
This was followed by a Panel Debate on "Investing in Equality", led by Catherine Howarth from ShareAction, former M.P John Battle, and Toby Quantrill from Christian Aid.
ECCR calls on investors to tackle pay inequality
To mark its
25th anniversary, the Ecumenical Council for Corporate Responsibility
(ECCR), the church investor advocacy coalition has released a report
'Using Ethical Investment to Close the Gap', a radical call to action
for the investor community to use their ownership responsibilities to
address ever increasing levels of wealth inequality in the UK.
John Arnold, Executive Director of ECCR, said "For too long investors have presided over a corporate system that over-rewards the elite whilst leaving many employees at poverty level. We want individual and institutional investors to join their church investor colleagues, and revisit their responsibilities, as owners of businesses, to challenge companies to tackle low pay and insecure work."
Acknowledging that one in five British workers are paid below a "living wage" and - in the same financial year – the average FTSE 100 Chief Executive Officer earned £4.7 million, the far-reaching report calls for FTSE AllShare companies to:
- Ensure that all staff working on their premises, be they employees or subcontractors, are paid a living wage
- Provide greater transparency on differences in pay by disclosing the extent to which senior executive pay exceeds average employee pay.
Bishop Michael Doe, Chair of ECCR, stated that "As we approach a General Election there needs to be a concerted effort by Christians and others to show that an increasingly unequal society is bad for the people involved (whether they are at the top, or pushed to the bottom by the declining value of wages and benefits), for society as a whole, and often for business itself."
A joint report with Rathbone Greenbank Investments
Throughout the summer of 2013, we met with senior representatives from six of the UK’s
leading retail banks including Barclays, HSBC, and RBS to review the five key challenges facing
the banking sector today, namely:
- Regulatory action and culture change
- Tax policy and practices
- Social and environmental risks in project and corporate finance activities
- Regional lending
- Access to finance
The aim of our latest report The Banks and Society: Trust Rebuilt? is to provide a snapshot of performance across the five areas, in order to inform debate and provide a foundation for interested stakeholders wishing to understand the issues or engage with the banks themselves.
Don’t just read our view, have your say on Twitter: #trustrebuilt