Methods and Approaches in Faith Based Investing

Faith based investing, also known as Faithful Investing, encompasses a spectrum of investment strategies that align with religious or ethical beliefs. These approaches integrate financial goals with moral or spiritual principles, reflecting a growing trend among investors seeking to make a positive impact beyond financial returns. Within the realm of faith based investing, various methods and approaches are employed, each with its screening criteria, positive and negative screens, and engagement and advocacy strategies.

Screening Criteria:

Screening criteria form the foundation of faith based investing strategies, guiding the selection of investments that align with specific religious or ethical values. These criteria typically include environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors, alongside religious principles such as adherence to ethical business practices, respect for human rights, and environmental stewardship. For instance, a Christian-based investment approach may emphasize values such as supporting the culture of life, free of abortion, contraception, indiscriminate weapons or euthanasia.

Positive and Negative Screens:

Positive screens involve actively seeking out investments that contribute to positive social or environmental outcomes in line with religious or ethical beliefs. This may involve investing in companies that prioritize sustainability initiatives, community development projects, or ethical labor practices. Negative screens, on the other hand, involve excluding investments that conflict with religious or ethical values. Common exclusions may include companies involved in the practice of embryonic stem cell research and the manufacture of contraceptives, or those with poor records on human rights or environmental sustainability. Negative screening aims to ensure that investment portfolios remain aligned with the moral compass of investors, avoiding complicity in activities deemed morally objectionable.

Engagement and Advocacy:

Engagement and advocacy strategies are integral components of faith based investing, allowing investors to influence corporate behavior and promote positive change. Engagement involves actively communicating with companies in which investors hold shares, advocating for improved moral practices, transparency, and ethical conduct. This may include dialogue with corporate management, filing shareholder resolutions, or participating in proxy voting to advance specific social or environmental objectives. By engaging directly with companies, faith based investors seek to foster dialogue and collaboration towards responsible business practices.

Advocacy extends beyond individual company engagement to broader efforts aimed at shaping industry standards, public policy, and societal norms. Faith based investors may collaborate with like-minded organizations, participate in industry initiatives, or support legislative and regulatory measures that align with their values.

Catholic Investing:

Catholic investing seeks to align financial decisions with the principles and values of the Catholic faith. This approach includes selecting catholic mutual funds and other types of catholic investment funds that adhere to ethical and moral criteria established by the Church. Catholic investment firms play a crucial role in guiding investors toward opportunities that are not only financially sound but also ethically responsible. Altum Faithful Investing relies on the Altum Investment Guidelines, which are grounded in the Social Doctrine of the Church, ensuring that the investments made are consistent with Catholic values and teachings. Altum helps Christian investors invest coherently, following faith based criteria.

In conclusion, faith based investing encompasses a range of methods and approaches aimed at aligning financial objectives with religious or ethical values. Through screening criteria, positive and negative screens, and engagement and advocacy strategies, investors seek to create portfolios that reflect their commitment to social responsibility, environmental stewardship, and ethical conduct. By integrating faith based principles into investment decisions, investors not only pursue financial returns but also strive to make a positive impact on society and the world at large.

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