A blog on Faith-based investing, by Yolanda Matro, Committee Member
Recently I was invited to attend a Zoom meeting by a friend actively involved in Faith Invest. Their latest project, in conjunction with the World Wide Fund for Nature, is the Faith Plans for People and Planet. Faith Invest’s main role will be to encourage faiths to embed into their plans investment policies which are consistent with their faith while the WWF will provide expertise on key environmental issues.
I was attracted immediately by the words ‘Faith Plans’! And so, I registered and was amazed by the number people present. They were mostly communication officers from many parts of the world and from various religions who have expressed their interest in this project.
I learned how the 4th of October this year proved to be a significant day for the environment. On that day Pope Francis along with leaders of world religions made a public declaration pledging their organisations to actively address the climate crisis. Later that same day, Faith Invest announced their ‘Faith Plans for Planet and People’ project. The timing of both announcements is critically important. They came just before the start of the UN’s COP26 Climate Conference which will be held in Glasgow from 31st October to 12 November 2021. This is a crucially important COP if the effective shredding of the Paris Climate Agreement is to be prevented.
I also learnt more about Faith Invest. It is an international non-profit organisation. Its ‘Faith Plans for People and Planet’ drew inspiration from the 2009 Faith Commitments programme in which more than 60 traditions from all major faiths – including Buddhism, Daoism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Sikhism and Shintoism – made long-term commitments to the environment. Each group produced a plan relevant to their own beliefs, teachings, and practices. The response made by these groups to environmental issues over the coming decade was profoundly influenced by the success of their plans.
The new initiative for Faith Plans wants to build on the success of the original 2009 Faith Commitments programme by encouraging not 60 groups to make plans but thousands to become involved. ‘Faith Plans for People and Planet’ is a massive project which aims to get all faiths to set out clear plans on how they will reach environmental sustainability over the next decade. The plans are to be a response to the triple crises of climate change, ecological devastation, and the impact of Covid-19 on national commitments around the Sustainable Development Goals.
Seven key areas have been identified in which the world religions can have a significant impact on environmental action through their resources and traditions. These key areas are:
Faith-consistent use of assets
- Education and young people
- Media, advocacy & outreach
- Partnerships, eco-twinning
The CEO of Faith Invest, Martin Palmer, concluded the meeting by saying that it is important to connect with one’s Deity, with oneself, with others and with creation. In other words, examine our fundamental relationships. It left me feeling that if we put love in all these relationships, everything will work for the good of creation.
For more information, please visit www.faithplans.org.
Yolanda Matro 18th October 2021