Oxford Socially Responsible Investment CampaignCampaigning for Socially Responsible Investment in OxfordWhat is your college supporting?
 Calling for Socially Responsible Investment across Oxford University

Starting Points

Starting Points

Firstly you need to find out the status quo in your college – both what the investment policy is and how it is administered. There is likely to be an investment committee that oversees investment policy – you need to ask who’s on it (is your common room represented?), how it makes its decisions and who it is accountable to. Hopefully the committee should also be willing to tell you what their policy on investment is. If they aren’t, all registered charities with incomes over £10,000 (which means all colleges) have to register their accounts with the charities commission and these are available to the public. You also need to know what the college’s stated objectives are as a registered charity – this becomes relevant later as it can effect what they are allowed to invest in. You can find this out from the charity commission’s website - http://www.charity-commission.gov.uk/ .

Next Steps

You need to work out what the investment information you have been given really means. There are two common methods of share holding – either through an actively managed package controlled by a fund manager or investment which follows a financial index (for instance the FTSE 100). Ethical packages of the first type are available, although unless the college has specified this to the fund manager it is unlikely that they will be pursuing them. Funds which follow most indexes don’t have any kind of ethical dimension – they just follow the index. However, forms of ethical Index exist such as FTSE 4 Good Index, which both includes companies which support human rights, encourage environmental sustainability and have good stakeholder relations, and screens out some sectors such as weapons manufacturers and tobacco companies.

If you are concerned about your college’s investment policy you need to gain the support of your common room. Since there is no concrete definition of an ethical company, consultation is required to find out what your common room defines as ethical. A questionnaire asking what issues they regard as important (see Appendix 1) will give you an idea of how far the college’s investment policy and the common room’s views differ. Once this process of consultation (either conducted individually or within a team) has given you an idea of your common room’s views you will be able to put forward a common room motion. This should state the common room’s desire to pursue an ethical investment and mandate either individuals or a group of individuals to negotiate with the SCR on this issue (see Appendix 2). You may also want to consider attempting to gain the support of your other common rooms.

Posted on 21/10/04 by admin

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Oxford Socially Responsible Investment Campaign is campaigning for clear committment to Socially Responsible Investment from Oxford University and for greater financial transparency in the investments of Oxford University Colleges. This website contains information about the campaign, and details on how you can get involved