Seventh Generation Interfaith Coalition for Responsible Investment (SGI) harnesses collective influence as shareowners to improve corporate decision-making and public policy on environmental, social, and governance (ESG) issues. The motivation for this work is grounded in the values and principles of faith and values-based member organizations. While members have a fiduciary duty to protect and grow their financial resources, they invest in companies that promote sustainable practices and policies based on the practical conviction that business leaders who choose to serve the common good (“servant leaders”) build more profitable businesses over the long-term.
Socially responsible investing (SRI) has grown from niche to mainstream. The U.S. Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment (US SIF) found that SRI in 2016 totaled $8.72 trillion – a 33% increase over 2014. This means that $1 of every $4.6 under professional management in the U.S. is now invested using SRI strategies. And there is no financial penalty…investors can do well while doing good! An Oxford University review of academic studies on sustainability and business performance concluded that 80% of the studies observed that stock performance and good sustainability practices are positively correlated.
SGI members have been a force for positive change of publicly and privately traded companies in the United States and around the world in ways that are benefiting countless individuals and communities. They have pursued investment strategies that foster economic development of lower-income workers and communities. To advance their principles and priorities, SGI members have advocated for public policy to advance their mission and engaged other stakeholders including consumers and civil society to support sustainable development.
Effective corporate engagement requires research, preparation and, above all, persistence. SGI serves as a resource for its members by providing services and resources to educate them, informing them of timely opportunities, and supporting them in corporate and public engagements on key issues of concern that are relevant to their ministries and priorities. By leading corporate dialogues, voting proxy statements, submitting shareholder proposals, participating in multi-stakeholder roundtables, signing on to advocacy letters and statements, and participating at company Annual General Meetings (AGMs), members are committed to be active stewards of their financial resources.
SGI members also recognize the strength of the consumer voice in promoting social change. To support responsible sourcing in the apparel industry, they launched a consumer campaign, The Human Thread. Its mission is to foster awareness that promotes solidarity between consumers of clothing and the people who produce them in order to create a more just economy and sustainable communities.