Since 2014, the Vatican has held three conferences on impact investing (2014, 2016, 2018), and the Catholic Church has become a major player in the impact/ESG space. This biennial series of Vatican Impact Investing Conferences is a “vital, long-term global platform around Pope Francis's vision of 'putting the economy at the services of peoples'”.1 At these events, impact investing experts and Catholic leaders from around the world convene to share and evaluate finance models and investible vehicles to address systemic challenges of great importance to both the Catholic Church and the global community. Current challenges include Climate Change, Health, Migrants and Refugees, and Youth Unemployment.2
Some of the larger initiatives discussed at these conferences involved using capital from Catholic organizations such as dioceses, religious orders, and health care associations, but the events have also succeeded in attracting attention from individual investors looking to make faith-based impact investments.
Many religious investors engage in socially responsible investing (SRI) which typically utilizes negative screening in which portfolio managers avoid investing in sin stocks or fossil fuels. Impact investing, on the other hand, takes a positive and proactive approach. Rather than saying “I don’t want to invest in companies that support weapons or tobacco,” an investor says, “I want to help support affordable housing or environmentally sustainable initiatives.” Faith-based impact investing is about investing in your values to empower positive results.
At CCM, we invest on behalf of religious clients around the U.S., customizing portfolios of investments to support their specific geographies (states, cities, counties) or one or more of eighteen impact themes (i.e., affordable health/rehab care, education/childcare, neighborhood revitalization) and provide reporting on those investments. Our fixed income strategy is also fossil fuel free and follows the US Conference of Catholic Bishop’s socially responsible investment guidelines, along with many of Pope Francis’ initiatives promoting care for creation, the dignity of work, and addressing income inequality.