As shareholders, we seek to dialogue with corporations to encourage them to improve their environmental, social and governance performance. The Congregation partners with Mercy Investment Services, Inc. to develop our engagement strategy and to expand our engagement opportunities across more companies. During a 12-month cycle, we typically will have at least 35 engagements (corporate dialogues and shareholder proposals) involving more than 25 different companies across our three primary strategic issues: Environmental Sustainability, Healthy Persons and Communities, and Protection of Human Rights.
The Congregation of St. Joseph’s SRI Sub-Committee, which is comprised of Sisters and members of our Finance Department staff, and its Investment Committee, whose membership also includes lay business advisors, meet regularly to review our investments and ensure that our resources are invested only in companies and organizations that meet our strict criteria. This includes, but is not limited to, prohibiting investing in companies that:
- engage in the inhumane use of animals.
- engage in destructive environmental practices.
- manufacture firearms and ammunition for non-military products.
- have a demonstrated lack of respect for human rights and worker rights.
- derive revenue from the production or distribution of pornographic or sexually explicit materials.
- operate for-profit prisons or immigration detention centers.
- earn revenue from the sale of tobacco.
In addition to the above avoidance screens that are applied to our investments, the committees also oversee a proactive investment portfolio. The purpose of this portfolio is to proactively invest in companies or mutual funds that demonstrate positive environmental, social and governance criteria, such as green energy or board diversity.
Community Development Investments
The Congregation’s Community Development Investment portfolio is comprised of equity and debt securities with explicit social goals. Through our loans to intermediaries such as community development corporations, credit unions and nonprofits, we seek to provide financial benefits to the poor and underserved, especially women and children. We seek to provide these loans to organizations with a presence in the geographic regions in which our members live and serve and whose missions are consistent with the values of the Congregation.