From the Revd Professor Richard Burridge
Sir, — The Ethical Investment Advisory Group (EIAG) much appreciated the full coverage you gave to its presentation on 8 February to the General Synod (Synod, 11 February). But may I just reassure readers who were surprised by the headline above the report, “Theology aids ‘relaxing’ on defence”? This may have given the impression that the EIAG is relaxed about investment in the arms industry. This is not the case.
Under the new ethical-investment policy on defence recommended by the EIAG, and adopted by the National Investing Bodies, no investment is permitted in companies involved in the production of indiscriminate weapons (landmines, cluster munitions, and nuclear weapons) or the processing, supply, or storage of weapons-grade nuclear fissile materials.
As for conventional weapons, no investment is permitted in companies deriving more than ten per cent of their revenues from strategic military sales.
We exclude many more companies from investment under the defence policy than under any of the other ethical investment policies: around three per cent, by company value, of the main global stock markets. Indeed, we exclude a greater proportion of the main global stock markets from investment under the new defence policy than under all the other ethical-investment policies combined.
So, far from “relaxing” on defence, we have a rigorous policy grounded in just-war theology — as I set out in my article in the Church Times (Comment, 11 June) last year.
Vice-Chairman of the EIAG
London WC2R 2LS