General Synod 2001
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Report 010-2

Pensions Committee -- Re: Ethical Investment Policy

To: The Council of General Synod

Re: Ethical Investment Policy

I am writing on behalf of the Trustees of the Pension Committee concerning the above-noted matter and, in particular, to draw your attention to the following concerns.

From time to time, the Pension Committee/or the Trustees receive requests from various members and/or groups in the Anglican Church requesting divestment of specific shares and/or other shareholders actions pertaining to matters of social justice. This has placed the Committee in a conflict of interest with regards to the following two issues:

  1. The Trustees have a fiduciary and prime obligation to balance any such request with our obligations to the Plan members and their families. Hopefully, in most cases, we can achieve this balance but our handling of these requests are not one dimensional.

  1. Secondly, it is clearly not our mandate (nor the mandate of any Diocese and/or groups) to set an Investment Policy for the Anglican Church of Canada. We are equally concerned that policy not be set in response to individual issues in isolation of one situation to another.

As such, we would like to make the following recommendations for action, we will offer to provide the following assistance:

1. An Ethical Investment Policy for the Anglican Church of Canada needs to be developed and accepted by the Council of General Synod and/or Officers of General Synod

2. That this Policy include but not be limited to the following:

  1. Broad based criteria for ethical investments;

  2. Mechanism for recommending various action process pertaining to individual investment issues;

  3. Recognition of the Pension Committee and the Trustees fiduciary obligations to the Plan members and families.

  1. That the Trustees provide a draft policy by the Fall of 2001 for review and adoption.

We thank you for your time and attention to this matter and await your response at your earliest opportunity.

Yours very truly,

(Mrs.) J.R. Mason

Director of Pensions


To: Canadian Council for Refugees, Dioceses of New Westminster & Huron

Re: Talisman

Thank you for providing me with a copy of your letter to the Primate dated January 3, 2001 concerning the above-noted matter.

The Pension Committee and the Trustees are well aware of the atrocities to the Sudanese people and the reported breaches of human rights including the displacement of millions of people. We join you with our deep concerns and prayers for the Sudanese people. In response to these concerns, we attended last year's annual meeting in Calgary and used our status as shareholders to both vote and raise our voice in opposition to any and all breaches of human rights.

With regards to the issue of divesting of all Talisman shares, this issue has been discussed both at the Pension Committee and the Trustee meetings. The issue has been sympathetically received but is not without complexity for those Committees. In attempting to work this issue through, the Pension Committee and the Trustees must also balance their prime responsibility to the Pension Plan members, that is, to the clergy and lay workers of the Church and their families. We are hopeful the balance can be accomplished as we continue to actively deal with the matter.

It is important, though, to note that there is no present mechanism in General Synod to address these specific issues by way of a policy. In particular, it is not within the mandate of the Pension Committee or the Trustees to determine ethical investment policies on behalf of the Anglican Church of Canada. We will address this concern to the Council of General Synod and will be offering them some assistance in this regard.

I trust this will update you on this matter and confirm our continued examination of the issue and of the request for divestment. Nevertheless to say, if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Thanking you, I remain,

Yours very truly,

(Mrs.) J.R. Mason

Director of Pensions

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