At its 2020 virtual General Assembly, the UUA adopted a Business Resolution on Embodying Human Rights in Our Investment Decisions. Ninety-five percent of delegates voted for the resolution, which was sponsored by a wide range of UU social justice organizations and supported by the UUA Socially Responsible Investing Committee and Investment Committee.

At their joint meeting in August, the UUA Socially Responsible Investing Committee and Investment Committee began planning to implement the resolution, including by evaluating additional research to facilitate screening and divestment. Learn more by reading the materials and listening to the recording of our September investor call.

Social justice groups, congregations, and all UUs concerned about social justice are encouraged to join these quarterly calls to stay up to date on how our committees are working together to align UUCEF investments with UU values. Sign up here.

For background on the Business Resolution, read the press release issued by its sponsors: Black Lives of UU (BLUU), UUs for Justice in the Middle East (UUJME), UU Ministry for Earth (UUMFE), UU Peace Ministry Network (UUPMN), and UU Refugee and Immigrant Services and Education (UURISE).

Don’t miss the powerful video statement of support for the resolution by Rev. Kimberly Quinn Johnson, minister of the UU Congregation of South Fork in Bridgehampton, NY, and member of the Organizing Collective Board of BLUU.

And below is the statement presented by Kathy Mulvey, Chair of the UUA’s Socially Responsible Investing Committee, during this year’s General Assembly.

The UUA’s Socially Responsible Investing Committee, together with the UUA Investment Committee, collaborated closely with the sponsors in developing this resolution and we fully support its adoption.

Our denomination has a 50-year history of using our investments to advance UU values in the areas of human rights, worker rights, and the rights of Indigenous people.

  • In 1966, the first shareholder resolution we cosponsored convinced Eastman Kodak to commit to hire more Black workers at its Rochester, New York, headquarters.
  • In the 1970s, we were on the leading edge of a divestment movement that helped to topple the racist apartheid regime in South Africa.
  • Today, we are joining with other faith- and values-based investors in engaging with companies over worker health, safety, and job security in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Decisions of the General Assembly and the UUA Board of Trustees, such as the 2014 Business Resolution on Fossil Fuel Divestment and the 2017 Statement of Conscience, provide the basis for integrating UU values into our investment policies and actions. Our committees recently recommended, and the UUA Board approved, updates to our Socially Responsible Investing Guidelines to make explicit the role that the UU Common Endowment Fund plays in our denominational commitment to advancing racial justice, supporting multi-culturalism, and dismantling white supremacy culture.

Adoption of this resolution would help us to fill any gaps in our screening criteria in order to avoid direct investment in corporations that are consistently, knowingly, and directly complicit in human rights violations and violations of international law. It would also enable us to strengthen our engagement with our investment managers and companies across our portfolio on human rights due diligence.

We look forward to broadening our work with UU social justice groups, congregations, individual UUs, and other faith- and values-based investors at the forefront of human rights advocacy.

Article by: Kathy Mulvey, Chair, UUA Socially Responsible Investing Committee