- March 1, 2016: Vol. 28, Number 3

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On a mission: For religious institutions, ESG investing is more than a catchphrase

by Steve Bergsman

This past December, right before the Christmas holiday, Trinity Church Wall Street submitted a proposal to be included in Cabela’s Inc.’s proxy material, asking the sporting goods retailer to implement a policy of barring the sale of firearms capable of discharging more than eight shells without reloading.

Trinity, a small shareholder in Cabela’s, made a similar request of Wal-Mart Stores Inc. The church believes, as a responsible investor and as part of its pastoral mission, it should be an agent for what it views as constructive social change.

Religious organization pensions and endowments walk a fine line between the capitalist pursuit of an adequate return on investment and the need to stay true to a group’s calling. This two-pronged approach to investing can be accomplished fairly easily when investing in equities and corporate bonds by avoiding the “sin” group of stocks, which includes those of firms dealing in gambling, alcohol, tobacco, weapons of w

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