The coronavirus crisis renews calls for responsible capitalism
The Church of England's head of ethical investment says the sacrifices made to tackle the coronavirus outbreak will renew calls for 'responsible capitalism'.
Edward Mason, head of ethical investment for the Church Commissioners, told the Guardian newspaper that while the coronavirus outbreak was overwhelming the news agenda, it was likely to refocus minds on the collective good.
'Some of the post-financial crisis themes we've seen around corporate tax, not having excessive executive remuneration, treating people fairly, treating staff fairly – I think all these issues are already part of the public discourse on coronavirus. And I think it's only going to increase the sort of momentum behind responsible capitalism, because everyone's making sacrifices at the moment,' he told the Guardian.
Mason said the Church Commissioners, who manage an £8.3bn ethical fund on behalf of the Church of England, would also expect firms that receive government support during the Corvid-19 outbreak to consider what they could do in return.
If society has been good to a company, it's incumbent on that company to be a responsible citizen in society and to be generous back. That's very much part of our philosophy as a church: mutual generosity and intentions towards the common good.'
Last week, the High Pay Centre, a think tank, called for any bailouts during the coronavirus outbreak to come with social and environmental conditions, including a cap on chief executive pay at 10 times that of the company's median worker.
Longer term, Mason said the Church Commissioners' focus would remain on climate change: 'Climate change is by far our highest priority, it is the biggest ethical issue that concerns our stakeholders in the wider church, and also poses the greatest systemic risk to our portfolio.'
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