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'There is no money on a dead planet': Faith & investment at a critical crossroads

Press release: In her first days as FaithInvest's new CEO, Dr Lorna Gold has issued an urgent call for a radical reassessment of the values underpinning our economic decisions, saying we need an economy 'more attuned to the planet and human well-being – one that will unleash the power of faith as a dynamic force for good'.


In a deeply felt and passionately argued article, Dr Gold, who assumed leadership of FaithInvest this month, said we have plenty of knowledge about the extent of the ecological and climate crises, and about the changes we need to make, 'yet we are still facing an uphill battle in uniting behind a new vision of the economy that can shift us towards a more sustainable future'.

A screenshot of the article on the FaithInvest website

She added: 'We need to join a few more dots... If we agree that our economic choices are driving us systematically towards destruction, then surely we need to examine the foundation on which key choices are made?'


No money on a dead planet

Caring about the future of the planet and all its inhabitants is not simply a matter of personal taste, she said: 'It is about shared responsibility and the common good. It is about human decency... It is about the ancient and enduring truth that money, no matter how alluring, cannot be eaten. There is no money on a dead planet.'


As well as urgently needing to revisit the philosophical and values underpinning our economic decisions, Dr Gold said we should be willing to embrace alternative perspectives on economic life that might be considered the antithesis of consumer-based market economics, such as care, gift, sacrifice, frugality, collaboration, creativity and sharing.


'Examples of this kind of economy date back to ancient times – to the first Christian communities who shared everything in common and "nobody was in need"; or the Kibutz movement; or the pioneers of Quaker businesses,' she says.


A just and sustainable world

FaithInvest is a UK-based international non-profit organisation founded to empower the faiths to invest in line with their beliefs and values. Dr Lorna Gold said it was a great honour to be taking over the leadership of FaithInvest 'at a pivotal time in both the faith-consistent investing movement and global efforts to address the urgent climate and environmental crises'.


She added: ‘FaithInvest works to achieve a just and sustainable world by supporting all major faiths to invest in line with their beliefs and values. All major faiths have made bold public commitments on tackling the environmental crisis.


'We believe faiths can be creative engines of profound change, based on their deep beliefs, values and teaching, and that conviction has been borne out by the massive growth of interest globally among faiths in ensuring their investments are aligned with their values, for the benefit of people and planet.'


A dynamic force for good

Dr Gold said FaithInvest could help faiths to do this: 'We support faiths to evaluate the extent to which their finances reflect their faith values, and then to develop investment policies, guidelines and mandates that are aligned to those values.

Dr Lorna Gold
Dr Lorna Gold

'When this happens the power of faith as a dynamic force for good is unleashed – whether underwriting the vast potential to safeguard "sacred forests" or mandating thousands of parishes to switch to clean energy. Based on their deepest values, faith institutions can become a creative force for a sustainable world.'


Dr Lorna Gold has more than two decades of experience of international development and engaging the faiths on climate and financial justice. She is a leading voice on faith-consistent investing in the Catholic Church and Chair of the Board of Directors of the Laudato Si’ Movement, a global grassroots Catholic environmental network bringing together 900 organisations around the world.


Read Dr Gold's full article on the FaithInvest website here.

 

How can we help?

If you've been inspired by Dr Lorna Gold's call for urgent action, and would like to explore how your faith organisation can begin the process of 'revisiting the deep philosophical and values foundation of your economic decisions', FaithInvest can help.

  • Contact us for a free evaluation of your existing Investment Policies & Guidelines (IP&G) to consider the extent to which your faith values are reflected in them.

  • Ask us about our introductory training course on faith-consistent investing.

  • Apply to join our Faith-Consistent Investing (FCI) Interest Group, which meets quarterly to discuss FCI-related issues and share knowledge and experience.

  • Sign up to our occasional newsletter to keep up to date with FCI news.

  • Talk to us about how we can help you to:

    • Express your beliefs, teachings and values in your IP&G statements

    • Redesign your Investment Mandates and Strategies​

 

Notes for Editor


Dr Lorna Gold: Before joining FaithInvest in 2020, Dr Lorna Gold worked at a senior level in Trocaire, the official overseas development agency of the Catholic Church in Ireland. She supported the Irish Bishops' Conference to divest from fossil fuels in 2018. She is an accomplished academic and author, writing widely on topics related to faith, sustainability and development finance. Her books include New Financial Horizons – The Emergence of an Economy of Communion (NCP, 2011) and Climate Generation – Awakening our Children's Future (NCP, 2018). She holds a PhD in Economic Geography from the University of Glasgow.


Why work with faiths? Faith groups are significant stakeholders in the planet, managing half of the world's schools, a quarter of its healthcare and seven to eight percent of its habitable landmass. They reach out to four-fifths of the world's population and they hold billions of dollars of investments on the global stock markets. Increasingly faith groups are looking at how and where they invest their funds and asking if those investments reflect their beliefs and values.


FaithInvest is a UK-based international non-profit organisation founded to empower the faiths to invest in line with their beliefs and values, for the benefit of people and planet. We support faith-based asset owners to develop faith-consistent investing policies and guidelines to enable them to align their investments and their values. More information at: www.faithinvest.org.


Martin Palmer: FaithInvest's previous CEO Martin Palmer remains as Founding President.


Media contacts

Susie Weldon, Director of Communications

susie.weldon@faithinvest.org | UK-based | +44 1749 870057 (landline) | +44 797 0466 830 (mobile)

steven.owen@faithinvest.org | US-based | +1 781 910 9260 (mobile)

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