Mercy Investment Services joined fellow faith-based investors for the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR) annual spring conference, which included company meetings and conference sessions addressed a spectrum of important issues:
- The tobacco session discussed how on-demand streaming services such as Disney, Netflix and Amazon handle content disclosure and parental controls around tobacco and vaping imagery.
- Members discussed the use of medically important antibiotics, which have created the anti-microbial resistance health crisis responsible for two million infections and 23,000 deaths. Mercy and ICCR members have engaged meat producers, retailers and restaurants to eliminate the use of medically important antibiotics.
- The Investors for Opioid and Pharmaceutical Accountability (IOPA), co-led by Mercy, provided an overview and update on its 2020 initiatives including governance principles and engagements with pharmaceutical companies on opioid business risks and anticompetitive market.
- Speakers from gun violence prevention organizations shared their current work and future strategies to promote gun safety.
- The human trafficking and worker rights session improved understanding of the conditions on the ground in Xinjiang, China, where the Muslim Uyghur people are undergoing detention, “re-education” and forced labor in the production of cotton, yarn, textiles and apparel.
- A major child sex abuse reporting center and a global child rights group presented on where companies most need to act and the role of investors in supporting action to keep children safe online from sexual offenders.
- The just transition session presented outcomes from the ICCR and Harvard Initiative for Responsible investment multistakeholder roundtable and explored implications for gas workers and how energy utilities’ deep decarbonization impacts communities.
- The mining session reviewed the progress on the tailings initiative led by the Church of England as well as a new initiative in Peru with the faith community holding challenging conversations with the mining companies.
- Water and the impact of current regulatory rollbacks, which are felt most acutely by communities of color and those with high poverty rates, were discussed in a session including safeguarding water resources.
- Investors discussed the strategic importance of audits to assure both the proper accounting of climate risk in corporate financial statements, and the accuracy of information presented in corporate sustainability reports.
Even as the coronavirus worries unfolded during the conference week, ICCR members maintained calm and learned, discussed, and strategized to ensure their long-term missions to help all people and the planet move forward.