Your beliefs become your thoughts; your thoughts become your words; your words become your actions; your actions become your habits; your habits become your values; your values become your destiny.
– Mahatma Gandhi
Faith-consistent investing (FCI) is the alignment of faith values with investment decisions. FCI (also called faith-based investing or faith-aligned investing) involves investing in a manner that reflects an organisation's values and principles – often aligning with environmental, social and ethical considerations. In this way, faith institutions seek to live their values in their investments.
Many faith institutions start by avoiding investing in ventures that conflict with their values, such as the arms trade, pornography or gambling. Increasingly, this includes divesting from institutions that damage the planet or contribute to the climate crisis. That's why faith groups make up the biggest group of investors divesting from fossil fuels.
While faiths are good at knowing what they don't want to invest in, in recent years there has been a growing consensus that it's not enough simply to avoid harm. In order to live their values in their investments, faith institutions are increasingly considering how to invest proactively for a beautiful and just world and are actively seeking investments that reflect their values.
Developing faith-consistent investment guidelines is a vital step for faith groups seeking to align their investments with their values. These are the essential governing documents for faith investment policies. As one member says, 'Having clear and comprehensive faith-consistent investment policies and guidelines is a prerequisite for becoming fully mission aligned.'
FAITHS AS KEY STAKEHOLDERS IN THE PLANET
Faiths have huge outreach (84% of people worldwide say they belong to a faith) and hold enormous financial assets to build schools, hospitals, clinics and orphanages as well as distribute cash to support the poorest and most marginalised. They own investments, pension funds, private sector businesses as well as land and millions of buildings worldwide.
WHAT IS FAITH-CONSISTENT INVESTING?
Faith-consistent investing (FCI) is....
INTENTIONALLY aligning assets that are available to invest with what your faith community wants to achieve...
...by INTEGRATING faith beliefs, teachings and values into foundational investment governance documents and processes....
...as this ROOTS investment decisions and translates faith values into actionable investment language.
Many faith groups share core values – for example, caring for the poor, feeding the hungry and protecting the vulnerable – which are expressed through their sacred texts and teachings.
Many also have officially approved statements or position papers on the environment, social justice, health, housing, weapons and other activities, based on their beliefs, teachings and priorities.
WHAT DO WE MEAN BY 'ASSET'?
An asset is an item or resource containing economic value and/or future benefit that is owned or controlled by an organisation. Examples include land, buildings and investments. Such assets have value to deliver future benefits, and can be used to meet debts, commitments, or to further legacies and mission.
sustain (fund the organisation's existence and activities)
be used sacrificially (grants and giving)
be invested to spark new enterprises and new hope
WHY IMPLEMENT FCI?
Faith-consistent Investing, based on clearly stated policies and guidelines:
Expands the outcomes and influence possible by faith-based groups
Complements the good acts, grants, and positive messaging by faith groups
Clearly expresses faith organisations' commitment to their faith beliefs & values
Prevents passive or inadvertent investing against a faith organisation's values
ESSENTIAL COMPONENTS OF FCI
Policy sets out your overarching goals and objectives as a faith organisation.
Guidelines translate the policy into investment mandates and instructions.
Governance processes guide oversight to ensure investments stay faith consistent.
Communication shares objectives and investment activities to internal and external audiences
Whether you are beginning this journey or reviewing your current policies, we can help.
Take a look at our WHAT WE DO page to find out more about the practical support we provide to faith groups and faith-based asset owners, including free-to-access services and benefits, and our paid-for services.
Contact us for a free assessment of your faith-based organisation's current investment policies and guidelines.
Sign up to our Subscriber Network for the latest news and updates as well as early access to research and resources.
Join our FCI Interest group which meets online every quarter to explore issues around faith-consistent investing with other faith-based asset owners.
Check out our FCI resources to learn more about faith-consistent investing and to begin your FCI journey.
And if you need specific one-one-one support, contact us to find out how we can help.
FCI RESOURCES & GUIDES
If you are beginning this journey, or reviewing your current policies, we can help. Download our guide to developing faith-consistent investment guidelines below as well as other resources of relevance to faith-based investors.
FCI FOR SMALL ORGS
Our March 2023 white paper, Faith-Consistent Investing and Smaller Organisations, looks at the challenges faced by small faith groups with limited resources when seeking to align their values and iinvestments – and offers some solutions.
Our April 2022 Good Intentions paper Is the first in-depth, multi-faith analysis to take a deep dive into publicly available faith investment policies and guidelines, and assess the extent to which nvestments are aligned to faith values.
Our February 2022 Roadmap discusses three key topics for faith-based investors: understanding alignment versus Impact, private markets for impact investing, and tradeoffs between impact and investment outcomes.
A CAPITAL SOLUTION
This 2000 publication by ARC and WWF, supported by the World Bank, looked at the extent of faith assets and was the first to discuss the need for faith-consistent investment policies.
The Faith Values to Investment guide, pubished in September 2021, is aimed at faith organisations seeking to align their values and their investment policies, providing a framework for doing so.