The Church Pension Fund (CPF) uses its position as a large institutional shareholder to engage companies on social and environmental issues that have long-term investment implications. We look to promote productive dialogue and, if necessary, file shareholder resolutions to encourage these companies to conduct their business in a manner that addresses important social and environmental concerns of the Episcopal Church.
Our shareholder engagement encourages companies to:
- Focus on environmental sustainability, including reducing greenhouse gas emissions
- Address human rights issues
- Increase diversity among their executives and board of directors
“We look to promote productive dialogue and, if necessary, file shareholder resolutions to encourage companies to conduct their business in a manner that addresses important social and environmental concerns of the Episcopal Church.”
Christopher Rowe, Investments Group,Vice President, CPF
For decades we have collaborated with the Committee on Corporate Social Responsibility (CCSR) of the Executive Council of the Episcopal Church (Executive Council) and The Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society (DFMS)—as well as with other faith-based organizations and investors—to discuss our shared concerns and develop strategies for addressing those concerns. We are also members of various investor groups, including the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility, Ceres, and the Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN) and coordinate our shareholder engagement efforts with other investors having similar interests.
We have focused our attention, in particular, on encouraging companies in our investment portfolio to address issues related to the environment, human rights issues, and diversity among corporate executives and board of directors. Shareholder engagement efforts often require years of dialogue, but we believe we have made great progress with companies in addressing our concerns. Most recently, we have engaged with a fossil fuel company to provide increased transparency around climate risk reporting; technology companies to increase the diversity of their corporate boards; and transportation companies to enhance their training and policies to combat human trafficking.
Every publicly traded company conducts an annual meeting during which its shareholders cast votes on a variety of issues, ranging from the election of corporate directors and approval of auditors, to executive compensation, to various issues proposed by shareholders. Shareholders generally vote on these issues in advance of the annual meeting by submitting a completed proxy to the company. We work closely with CCSR and DFMS to decide how to vote the proxies we receive for the shares we hold.