The primary purpose of JCIR is to advocate for and effect change in corporate behavior by coordinating shareholder advocacy initiatives at both the province and national levels. JCIR province representatives collaborate to identify economic, social and environmental justice priorities and to work together to promote corporate social responsibility. JCIR works to expand awareness of socially responsible investment in Jesuit-related institutions; to organize and incorporate the resources of as many provinces as possible and to involve Jesuits in broad collaborative efforts with other members of the faith community committed to socially responsible investment.
SRI uses the investment portfolios of the Jesuit provinces in Canada and the U.S. to influence corporate policy decisions that determine corporate operation in this country, and throughout the world. JCIR encourages Jesuit provinces and institutions to make investments in places where traditional investment moneys do not flow, such as in community development loan funds which help develop the human capital, economic infrastructure and affordable housing stock in underserved, undercapitalized areas. Read Our Full Report.
“In this system, which tends to devour everything which stands in the way of increased profits, whatever is fragile, like the environment, is defenseless before the interests of a deified market, which become the only rule… Money must serve, not rule!” (Evangelii Gaudium, 56-58)
Our corporate engagements focused on environmental sustainability have two focus areas: encouraging companies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and ensuring access to water for all.
We want companies to promote policies and practices that will improve the environmental impacts of their corporate activities, especially in industrial sectors that make significant contributions to greenhouse gas emissions. We do this to live out the call of Pope Francis in Laudato Si’, to care for creation and for people and communities most impacted by climate change. We also do this to encourage companies to help realize the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and to meet the goals of the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement. We carry out this work in collaboration with other engagements of faith- and values-based investors at ICCR.
In 2018, JCIR began a new engagement with American Airlines to learn how the company is managing plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions risks through its operations and value chain. The aviation industry currently accounts for two percent of all greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. economy and American Airlines is behind other aviation companies in the efficiency of their Trans-Atlantic fleet. Our goal is for the company to adopt science-based targets to monitor and reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to increase transparency in reports on the company’s operations. These targets are based on international standards set by CORSIA (Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation).
Communities, businesses and ecosystems throughout the world depend on clean freshwater to survive and prosper. Yet, as global demand for freshwater continues to grow, rising pollution and increasingly depleted water levels are causing many water sources to show signs of stress. The United Nations warns that in the coming decades, over half the world will live in water scarce regions. Freshwater availability, quality, and affordability are critical problems that require faithful engagement to find solutions to the global crisis of water sustainability.
In 2019, JCIR began an engagement with EQT Corporation, the largest producer of natural gas in the United States. While the company has shown some improvement in its water management and reporting practices, it still lags behind peers in the oil and gas sector. Like all natural gas companies, EQT’s operations have significant water impacts through its use of water in hydraulic fracturing and disposal of contaminated water. JCIR will focus on addressing gaps in the company’s water sustainability policy and public reporting. The company has a concentrated presence in the Appalachian Basin, including operations in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia.
Protecting Human Rights
Our engagements with companies to protect the human rights of each person impacted by corporate activity are centered within two industrial sectors: mining and the private prison industry.
Oil, gas, and other mining companies often operate in places of extreme poverty, repressive governments, civil conflict, weak rule of law, endemic corruption, or poor labor and environmental standards. The World Bank reports that globally the extractive industries are important for the economies of over 50 developing countries where up to 1.5 billion people live on less than $2 per day. Extractive industries have been linked to human rights abuses and civil conflict in a number of countries.
Our engagements with two mining companies arose out of conversations with Jesuits and lay colleagues working in communities impacted by mining operations: Aura Minerals, which operates the San Andres mine in Honduras and Barrick Gold, which operates the Pueblo Viejo mine in the Dominican Republic. In both of these dialogues, we are urging the company to develop accountable and transparent human rights policies that will protect the health, safety and rights of community members and the environment. We use the principle of Free Prior Informed Consent of all community members as we push for transparency. Aura is working to finalize a responsible mining policy that will include human rights and environmental policies. Once adopted JCIR will ensure it is sufficiently implemented throughout Aura’s mining operations. Barrick Gold needs to address concerns from community members about the impact of mining operations on air and water quality. This effort is clouded by contamination by both historical companies operating in the area and another active mine in the community.
Our engagement with GEO Group, a private prison company, came out of our desire to ensure that corporate policies and practices protected the human rights and dignity of every individual who is incarcerated. By engaging with GEO Group, we are also calling for humane treatment of immigrants held in detention facilities. GEO Group adopted a human rights policy in 2013. Our goal is to see the company fully implement their human rights policy, including training of personnel and disclosure of implementation metrics.