Do You Have a Social Justice-Related Investment Strategy?

Should endowed foundations with a commitment to social justice be as concerned about how they make their money as how they spend it?

At one time, the Trustees of the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust didn't have to worry too much about this because all their endowment was invested in the founder's confectionary business. But after the business was taken over in 1988, finding the right ways to invest the funds has taken a considerable effort. The Trust has always been interested in issues of corporate accountability through its grant-making programmes and investing the funds in businesses that, at least, do no harm in the world has been a strong interest of the Trust. We have learnt that this is more of an art than a science. We still struggle to get this right. In terms of our grant-making we have described ourselves as being idealistic but with a recognition that pragmatism is sometimes more effective than purity. This also applies to our investments.

Over the last year we have reviewed our investment strategy and come up with the attached statement. It describes where we are at this point in time.

Have others undertaken exercises akin to this? Do you have thoughts about what we have come up with? Are there other investment strategy papers out there that we could look at?

Inv Strategy 2010 191110.pdf104.85 KB