The future of EDGE’s work on ethical investment

Screen Shot 2016-06-20 at 12.16.06Where do we stand in the discussions on ethical investment in philanthropy, after three #EDGEtalk webinars on the question? This was the central discussion in the forth and, for the time being, last webinar in the series, which took place on Monday, 13 June 2016.

Especially in the light of the Paris agreement, foundations really need to change their investment policies and investments“, underlined working group chair Matthias Fiedler (Director at Bewegungsstiftung), summing up the discussions so far. He raised a number of “edgy” questions to the group, such as how “transformational” investments can be if they are part of the capital market, or if a “new economy” can emerge through investment policies. This lead to the question of strategic choices for the working group: Should the work concentrate on tangible, practical tools, for example peer support on screening a portfolio, developing an ethical investment policy or sharing of ethical investment deals? Or should the “big questions” be in the centre of the debate, such as if and how investment policy can be a leverage for system change, or the exploration of “investments without returns”, spending down and other more radical approaches on how to handle an endowment in a responsible and impactful way.

In the discussion, Nicolas Krausz (Charles-Léopold-Mayer Foundation and co-chair of the EDGE board of directors) suggested that a collective statement of the group could possibly help to establish shared standards, in consequence be reinforced through the creation of an “ethical investment label”. In the longer term, EDGE members might want to work towards the establishment of collective tools, such as joint ethical funds.

In order to explore the needs and ambition of the group, a questionnaire has been sent to all participants in at least one of the webinars. The results will inform the discussions at the EDGE Europe retreat from 8 to 10 July on the future activities of the Ethical Investment working group.

You can watch the recording of the forth Ethical investment #EDGEtalk below.

Matthias Fiedler’s presentation is available here.

EDGEtalk4 – Deepening the discussion from EDGE Funders Alliance on Vimeo.