Center for Corporate Auditing, Responsibility and Management policy Authoring/Guideline for ethical investments of the Evangelical Church in Germany

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The guideline regulates the investment behavior of the protestant churches in Germany and informs about positive criteria and exclusion criteria, themed investment vehicles and direct investments, corporate dialogue and the exercise of the voting shares. With producers of alcoholic beverages, the church draws a line at 14 per cent alcohol content limit, communion wine and beer may therefore continue to receive investments, but investments in liquor manufacturers are undesirable. Similarly, investments in tobacco companies, arms manufacturers, producers of genetically modified seeds, companies which themselves or in their supply chain allow inhumane working conditions and child labor in violation of the core labor standards of the International Labour Organisation, providers of gaming and businesses that produce products that violate human dignity with insulting and demeaning portrayals of people are discouraged; the latter point is specified with pornographic products, violent videos and violent computer games. For the investment in hedge funds the guide of the Church asks for caution; assessment presupposes a high level of expertise.

Even for government bonds the guide imposes sanctions; bonds of countries classified as "non-free" by Freedom House (rating 5.5 to 7.0) are undesirable, also affected are states that did not ratify the Kyoto protocol for the protection of the climate or which are particularly corrupt (rating 1 to 4 in the Corruption Perceptions Index of Transparency International) or which practice the death penalty.

The head of the EKD finance department, Thomas Begrich, commented the guide with these words: "It is our aim to make it clear that money is not an end in itself, but - like everything we do - should be used accountable before God and humanity". The guideline is intended not only for the ecclesiastical authorities, but also for individuals who want to learn about ethical investments, in the annex it also refers to the Principles for Responsible Investment.

The text also refers to the Leuenberg Agreement, which says: "They [the Christians] advocate earthly justice and peace between individuals and nations. This makes it necessary to communicate with others in seeking reasonable, proper criteria and to participate in the application."

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