Should charities be allowed to invest in harmful commercial sectors?
Should an environmental charity be allowed to invest in oil companies? Or a health charity be allowed to invest in tobacco, or alcohol? Or a child welfare charity in armaments?
Seems like a straightforward NO should cover it.
But as it stands, not only are charities allowed to invest in such sectors, there’s question of wether they are allowed NOT to.
If a charity has funds on trust that it must invest, it’s obliged to get the highest return it can. But should they be prohibited from funding the very causes they are campaigning against? Logic would say yes.
And indeed, a coalition of 20 charities has asked for the legalities of this situation to be revised and updated, as reported in the FT.
As it stands, advice from the charity commission allows charities to make ethical investments that may give a lower return, and it doesn’t prevent them from making unethical or ‘counter to cause’ investments.
It’s definitely an area where change is required to create a congruent situation.