Social Criteria Investment Screens
Social criteria investment screens provide a guide for this church with regard to corporate social responsibility. They delineate areas in which the ELCA would like to invest or refrain from investing and provide criteria to evaluate the scope of the work. The objective of social criteria investment screens is to identify the dimensions of a given problem area, and within those dimensions to focus on egregious problems that are most critical to address. All social criteria investment screens have the overall objective of addressing the ELCA’s concern for the social, environmental, and economic sustainability of corporations.
Social criteria investment screens do not constitute binding mandates or provide, for example, specific lists of corporations. It is the responsibility of the ELCA and each ELCA-related organization and individual Lutherans to develop and manage a prudent and responsible investment portfolio. The ELCA social criteria investment screens offer a context for decision-making about socially responsible investments.
Boycotts and Divestment
The ELCA has a specific and restrictive procedure concerning any possible boycott. A boycott has been defined as a collective effort to abstain from the purchase or use of products or services provided by a targeted firm, government, or other agency. The purpose of a boycott is to persuade the targeted entity to cease certain practices judged to be unjust, and/or to perform certain practices deemed to be just.
Boycotts in the faith community have been taken both against an individual company — such as the Nestlé infant formula boycott which began in the 1970s — or an industry such as the lettuce boycott of the 1980s. Boycotts only work if there is an economic impact and media coverage. The ELCA’s procedure concerning a boycott is detailed and therefore would likely take some time to be considered.
Another topic much discussed is sanctions. These are sometimes defined as punitive or restrictive measures taken, usually by several countries in concert, to pressure a country to change its certain policies. The 1995 ELCA social statement, For Peace in God’s World, states that:
“In support for just political structures, we … acknowledge that the responsible use of sanctions may on occasion be the most effective and least harmful measure to lead states to stop oppressing their people ….”
Corporate Social Responsibility resources may be found here.