Faith-based institutional investors have long recognized there is both a responsibility and an opportunity to leverage their investment activities to address the environmental and social issues of our times. Historically religious institutions have led the movement in shareholder advocacy. We recognize there is space to deepen the integration of values such as human rights, climate justice, racial equity, and the common good into institutions’ investment approach and asset allocation.
IASJ Mission-Aligned Investing (MAI) Program
To further this work, Investor Advocates for Social Justice (IASJ) launched the Mission-Aligned Investing (MAI) Program, which seeks to raise awareness and equip faith-based institutional asset owners with knowledge, tools, and frameworks to catalyze sustainable investments that further their values. The MAI Program will strengthen investors’ ability to work collaboratively with key stakeholders and their asset managers to articulate their goals for their portfolios and make investment decisions for high-impact and sustainable financial returns. IASJ will work closely with the “Cohort” of its Affiliates and their asset managers, as well as partners in the field, over a period of 18 months, starting January 2021.
About the Mission-Aligned Investing Program Cohort
IASJ will facilitate regular convenings among its Affiliates to build community, share experiences, and learn about driving and advancing values and mission to achieve positive environmental and social change alongside sustainable financial returns. This approach will enable investors to prioritize impact to advance human rights, climate justice, racial equity and just sustainable economic growth issues. The aim is to increase the social impact of faith-based institutional asset owners and for the institutions to be better equipped to direct assets towards transformative, sustainable business models that achieve sustainable and positive outcomes.
Through the Cohort engagements, among other topics, modules will address:
Revisit existing governance structures, such as investment committees and investment policy statements, to ensure that they are well-positioned to advance the mission-aligned investment process. Some of the specific modules may include: Investment Guidelines and Investment Policy Statements; Manager Diversity; Leadership transitions; Mergers and implications for mission-aligned investing; and Fiduciary duty.
Prioritization of impact areas relevant to the investment process (e.g. water, human rights, climate finance, fossil fuels, gender and racial diversity); exploring the moral dimensions of risk-return appetite; impact investing.
Gain understanding of methods to integrate Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) considerations into portfolio construction to inform evaluation; foster collaborative and productive conversations with institutions’ financial professionals on integrating mission and values into asset allocation; methods for efficient measurement, evaluation, and reporting of managers from a sustainable returns and impact perspective.
Establish impact goals for the portfolio that advance the mission of the institution; identify relevant metrics and systems to efficiently monitor and measure impact on priority issues.
Share the mission of the portfolio and how the responsible stewardship of assets contributes to the overall institution goals and values; Storytelling and peer learning on best practices and mission-alignment.
Join IASJ’s Mission-Aligned Investing Program
We welcome all IASJ affiliates to join the Mission-Aligned Investing Cohort and encourage you to share your thoughts, feedback and ideas on how this program can help support your institution’s alignment of your mission and values with your investment approach. Other partners who would like to learn more about the MAI program, please contact Niki Shah, Associate Director, Mission-Aligned Investing Program at Investor Advocates for Social Justice.