Mission Responsibility Through Investment
"What does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?" —Micah 6:8
MRTI to recommend divestment from Caterpillar, Motorola Solutions and Hewlett Packard
companies don't comply with ga mandate for 'peaceful pursuits' in israel/palestine, committee says
January 23, 2014
The Committee on Mission Responsibility Through Investment (MRTI) has found three corporations ― Caterpillar, Hewlett Packard and Motorola Solutions ― not in compliance with General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) policy on socially responsible investing and will recommend to the 221st General Assembly this summer in Detroit that these corporations be added to the denomination’s divestment list until such a time as their corporate activities are found in accordance with policy. (See full report and recommendations.)
Since 2004, General Assemblies have directed MRTI to use the church’s customary corporate engagement process to ensure that church investments are made only in companies engaged in peaceful pursuits in Israel, the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem.
The 2015 General Assembly Divestment List is now available
The General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) urges divestment and/or proscription of some corporations due to their involvement in military-related production, tobacco, or human rights violations. Read a comprehensive list of corporations or securities affected by those General Assembly policies.
CF Industries Publishes First Sustainability Report; MRTI Withdraws Shareholder Resolution
CF Industries, in response to MRTI’s shareholder proposals, has published its first report on its environmental, safety and health record. The report covers 2012, and provides an initial picture of the company’s sustainability efforts.
MRTI submitted a shareholder resolution requesting the report that received 67.02% of the shareholder vote at the 2013 annual meeting. This was the highest proxy vote ever in MRTI’s history, and for a sustainability report request in the history of shareholder advocacy. The resolution was resubmitted for the 2014 annual meeting with Friends Fiduciary co-filing.
Subsequently, CF Industries provided the report to MRTI, and requested that the 2014 resolution be withdrawn. Following a dialogue where the company reviewed their first report, and described the on-going process for publishing the next report, the filers decided to withdraw the resolution.
MRTI has provided CF Industries, a large fertilizer company, several suggestions and resources to assist the company in beefing up its disclosure. Sustainability reporting is becoming commonplace for major corporations, and assists stakeholders and investors in evaluating a company’s performance on issues such as water stewardship, greenhouse gas and other air emissions and employee safety and health.
Companies have benefitted by greater understanding of their operations, identifying opportunities to reduce costs, and improving regulatory compliance. Companies with good records are also noting a greater ability to attract and retain high quality employees.
MRTI Praises Wells Fargo’s Decision to End Direct Deposit Payday Advances
Wells Fargo announced on January 17, 2014, that it was eliminating its direct deposit payday advance program. Direct deposit payday advance is similar to other payday lending except the borrower must have their paycheck deposited directly into a bank account from which the loan plus interest is repaid. Critics of the program have cited high fees and interest rates along with many customers being trapped into more borrowing to repay the original loan.
MRTI has held dialogues with Wells Fargo for many years on all aspects of consumer finance and mortgage lending as well as environmental programs. Recently, the dialogue has included more attention to the bank’s direct deposit payday loan product, and reviews of regulatory proposals on the product. This year as well MRTI joined other shareholders in filing a resolution on the issue.
MRTI has worked on ending payday lending abuses for several years, and recently has turned its attention to the growing problem of internet payday lending.