ACEVO establishes Task Force to advise sector on ethical and responsible investments

ACEVO has launched a dedicated Commission to advise charities and social enterprises on investing responsibly.

The ACEVO Commission begins as the charity sector still grapples with the issues raised in December 2013 by a BBC Panorama programme on charity investments, which highlighted the ethical issues charities face when navigating the investment market.

It is launched just as Comic Relief, a charity featured the Panorama programme, announced its own measures to improve its practices.

The Commission aims to provide guidance for the whole of the charity and social enterprise sector.

The Commission is chaired by Martin Clarke, chair of The UK Sustainable Investment and Finance Association (UKSIF).

It will include influential professionals within the financial industry, responsible investments industry, grant-making industry, and voluntary sector.

It is sponsored by CCLA, one of the UK’s largest managers of charity funds, with support from leading social investor the Social Investment Business.

The commission will produce original insight into:

The state of the ethical and responsible investment market

The relationship between responsible investing and impact investing

How charities align their mission and their investment policy

The role of the charity chief executive in forming and communicating responsible investment policies

There will also be an observer from the Charity Commission who will study the group’s recommendations and use them to help inform future guidance.

The ACEVO Commission has been convened following a six month consultation period involving responsible investors and ACEVO members.

ACEVO members will be able to input into the work of the commission through ACEVO’s nationwide member forums and by way of submission to:

Commenting, chair of the Commission Martin Clarke said: “This is an issue of vital importance to charities and social enterprises, the nation’s most trusted institutions. There remains little practical guidance directed at the sector on the opportunities within the moral marketplace.

“We envision that this project will help the sector invest conscientiously and open up to the possibilities of strength of the socially responsible marketplace.”

Sir Stephen Bubb, CEO of ACEVO added: “The BBC Panorama programme was a wake-up call for our sector. We need to work hard to retain public trust in all aspects of our work.

"Through our responsible investments commission, we want charities to look seriously at responsible funds and to understand that this isn’t something you can just delegate to a finance committee. This is a leading issue for the sector and we are pleased to work with Martin to lead the way on it.”

Michael Quicke, CEO of CCLA, sponsors of the Commission, said: “How charities and social enterprises invest their funds is of increasing importance to all stakeholders, yet there is still disagreement and confusion about their investment powers and duties.

"This Commission is a timely opportunity to provide greater clarity for all.”

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