Our investment philosophy is aligned with AFSC’s mission, as well as the Religious Society of Friends’ beliefs and testimonies, which include peace, simplicity, integrity, and justice.
To assure that we invest in companies whose business conduct is consistent with these values, the Board of Directors has adopted a series of socially responsible investment (SRI) guidelines to be implemented by its Investment Sub-committee and adhered to by its investment money managers. Some of these guidelines are general SRI principles, and some emerged in response to social justice crises.
What we invest in
We invest in companies providing goods and services that people and peacetime industry need by way of food, medicine, clothing, housing, heat and light, transportation, communication, recreation, etc. – all the needs of everyday life.
We also invest in companies that promote environmental responsibility, favoring those with a superior record within their industry, including in labor and union relations, transparent business practices, and affirmative action policies.
What we do not invest in
AFSC has adopted several investment screens over the years to align our investments with Quaker values and testimonies. The testimony of peace leads AFSC to not invest in weapon manufacturers and developers, in major defense contractors or suppliers, in prison companies or the design and construction of prisons.
The testimonies of simplicity and integrity lead us to avoid investing in products or services of limited or questionable social value, such as tobacco or other intoxicants, some luxury items, or land speculation.
Our investment policy has also been adapted over the years in response to emerging social justice and peace concerns, informed by the advocacy and research of AFSC programs.
In 1967, we decided not to hold any U.S. Treasury bonds for the duration of U.S. military activities in Vietnam. Today we still uphold limitations on the duration and extent of our investment in U.S. Treasury bonds and see them as an option of last resort.
In 1978, we adopted a position excluding investment in public utility companies with significant involvement in nuclear power production.
Until January 1994, during the apartheid regime, it was our policy not to hold investments in any company doing business in South Africa.
In 2008, we divested from companies that provide services or tools used to facilitate violent acts against civilians or violations of international law in Palestine/Israel, including companies that knowingly support the Israeli military occupation, settlements, and the separation wall.
In 2018, we adopted a fossil fuel-free policy, refraining from investment in the top coal, oil, and gas reserves owners and in coal and oil sands/tar sands production.
Most recently, in 2021, we implemented an innovative invest/divest framework – taking into account not just the products of a firm but also the impact of the firm’s activities on a community.
AFSC offers other ethical investors our own research and recommended screens on corporate involvement in incarceration and deportation, the militarization of borders, surveillance, and military occupation.