Using Ethical Investment to Close the Gap: Fair Pay

To mark its 25th anniversary, the Ecumenical Council for Corporate Responsibility (ECCR), the church investor advocacy coalition released a report ‘Using Ethical Investment to Close the Gap: Fair Pay’, 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.”