Church Investors get tough

The Church Investors Group (CIG) has informed FTSE 350 companies, ahead of this year’s AGM season, that it will be taking a tougher voting line where it believes reform on key issues is deemed to be too slow.

CIG represents combined investment assets of approximately £21bn and includes the main investing bodies of the Church of England and the Methodist Church and is demanding greater corporate tax transparency, action on climate change, disclosure of pay ratios and a female director to each board. In addition it wishes to see greater attention to paying a Living Wage and alignment with the new UK Governance Code.

On climate change the CIG will not only vote against chairs of companies rated Level 0 or 1 by the Transition Pathway Initiative (TPI), but also vote against Chairs of electricity utilities (covered by both TPI and Climate Action 100+) which do not have emissions reduction pathways consistent at least with the Nationally Determined Contributions submitted by parties to the Paris Agreement, or whose disclosure is inadequate in order to make such an assessment.

The Revd Canon Edward Carter, chair of the Church Investors Group, said: “Ultimately a company’s license to operate depends on the confidence of the public and its long-term contribution to the common good. Our voting template for 2019 sends a strong signal to companies about the issues where we want to see change. Climate change, diversity, remuneration and corporate tax are areas that concern not only fairness but also the mitigation of risk to the companies themselves and wider society.”

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