Seventh Generation Interfaith Coalition for Responsible Investment (SGI) is a coalition of faith and values-driven institutional investors who view the management of their investments as a powerful catalyst for social change. It was founded in 1973 by Michael Crosby, O.F.M., Cap., Alphonsa Puls and Charlita Foxhoven, S.S.S.F., who were pioneers in corporate shareholder engagement. SGI was the key convener of the National Catholic Coalition for Responsible Investment and was instrumental in establishing other regional Catholic coalitions around the country. SGI was the first coalition to join the Interfaith Center for Corporate Responsibility (ICCR) to enhance our shareholder advocacy for systemic change.
Our membership has grown to 25 organizations including faith-based institutions and socially responsible asset management companies located in the Mid Western United States. Our name was changed to Seventh Generation Interfaith in 2015 in reference to the Great Law of the Iroquois to reflect the Native Americans’ love of mother earth and all creation. The Iroquois leaders considered the impact of their decisions on the current generation as well as for seven generations into the future. We continue to broaden our membership beyond our Catholic roots to include all people of faith and moral values who want to live out our mission in the stewardship of our resources.
Through the lens of faith, Seventh Generation Interfaith Coalition for Responsible Investment builds a more just and sustainable world for those most vulnerable by integrating social and environmental values into corporate and investor actions.
Although it is a moral and legal fiduciary responsibility as trustees to ensure an adequate return on investment for the support of the work of our ministries and clients, our members believe their stewardship embraces broader moral concerns. As part owners as shareholders, we must participate in shaping the policies of companies through dialogue with management, introduction of shareholder proposals and voting at corporate meetings or through proxies. While the motivation for our work is grounded in the values and principles of our member organizations, it also stems from the practical conviction that business leaders who choose to serve the common good build more profitable businesses over the long-term….doing financially well while doing social good. This concept challenges antiquated, deeply embedded business models. And yet, as a result of our questions, more and more companies are making this shift with increasingly positive results.
While our coalition engages corporations on a host of environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues, our principal focus has been on the social impacts of corporate operations and policies. Therefore, our engagements are framed within a human rights construct. Whether the issue is labor pay and work conditions, sustainable agriculture, access to affordable healthcare, or impact of climate change, it is the impact on people, usually economically vulnerable people, who inspire us to act. Our coalition supports our members in this work, providing resources, opportunities, and a shared forum to learn and engage with each other as we promote a culture of corporate social responsibility.
As a pioneer member of ICCR, SGI members have worked with like-minded colleagues throughout the country from over 300 faith-based institutions, asset management companies, unions, pension funds and colleges and universities that collectively represent over $400 billion in invested capital. Our history and success demonstrates that utilizing our power as shareholders has sparked a momentum that has engaged other sectors of society beyond religious institutions in our mission for social change resulting in $1 of every $4.6 under professional management in the U.S. is now invested in socially responsible investment (SRI) strategies.