Acevo sets up working group to advise charities on ethical investment

The group, to be chaired by Martin Clarke, was established in response to the BBC Panorama investigation into Comic Relief's investments and will report in the autumn

Martin Clarke
Martin Clarke

The chief executives body Acevo has set up a working group that will advise charities and social enterprises on ethical investment.

The group, which will be chaired by Martin Clarke, chair of the UK Sustainable Investment and Finance Association, will consider issues such as how charities can align their missions with their investment policies.

It will also examine topics including the state of the ethical and responsible investment market, the relationship between responsible investing and impact investing, and the role of an organisation’s chief executive in forming and communicating responsible investment policies.

The group, which will produce a report in the autumn, has been set up after a BBC Panorama programme last year showed that Comic Relief invested in companies whose activities went against the charity’s mission, including alcohol, tobacco and arms companies.

The group has been sponsored by the fund managers CCLA, and members include Caron Bradshaw, chief executive of the Charity Finance Group, and Jonathan Jenkins, chief executive of the Social Investment Business.

Acevo said there would also be an observer from the Charity Commission, who would consider the group’s recommendations.

Clarke said the issue was of "vital importance" to charities and social enterprises but there was little practical guidance for the sector on it.

"We envision that this project will help the sector invest conscientiously," he said.

Sir Stephen Bubb, chief executive of Acevo, said: "The BBC Panorama programme was a wake-up call for our sector. Through our responsible investments commission, we want charities to look seriously at responsible funds and to understand that this isn’t something you can just delegate to a finance committee."

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