Perspective

Winter 2020

An Ongoing Conversation

Mary Kate loves airports. Well, not really.

But she does love to travel around the Church to see the impact of our work on the people we serve, to hear what’s on their minds, and to keep the lines of communication open. Mary Kate has been convening conversations in all nine provinces of the Church that have included priests of various demographic groups, deacons, bishops, lay employees, and wardens and treasurers. Parity and equity in benefits as well as socially responsible investing are two of the areas that have sparked extensive recent discussion.

Parity and Equity in Benefits

In response to two General Convention resolutions asking us to study parity and equity in benefits, we’ve hosted multiple listening events around the Church. We received lots of comments, rich information, and insights. We are grateful for the candor and vulnerability that many have brought to these conversations, which are ongoing. We plan to combine summaries of them with the results of a detailed study of our pension benefits in a 2020 report to Executive Council and in our Blue Book report to General Convention that will be published in 2021.

Socially Responsible Investing—Shareholder Engagement

Our socially responsible investing (SRI) strategy includes positive impact investing, shareholder engagement, and thought leadership. A few years ago, we began hosting conferences and sharing videos about positive impact investing. We’re very proud of the effect we’ve been able to have as an investor in clean energy, affordable housing, sustainable real estate development, and elsewhere.

We’re also active shareholders in three areas: the environment, human rights, and governance (i.e., board diversity). Earlier last fall, we began hosting Insights & Ideas, a series of panel discussions (with livestreams on our Facebook page) to share effective strategies for advancing values like these and others through shareholder engagement.

The Church Pension Group uses a collaborative approach to promote environmental, social, and governance (ESG) issues with the companies we own. Working with the Episcopal Church, other faith-based investors, and institutional investor groups, we have had success engaging with companies on environmental impact reporting, board diversity, and human trafficking prevention.

For example, we engaged with a fossil fuel company to provide increased transparency in 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.

There are many ways to pursue our values without compromising our fiduciary responsibility, and we are utilizing all of them. We hope you will attend future Insights & Ideas events in person (please register), watch via Facebook Live, or take a few moments to watch videos of prior events. We promise you’ll be inspired.