Contact: Julie Capozzi
Managing Director, Communications
Wespath Benefits and Investments implements the Sustainable Investment Strategies, including the approach to shareholder engagement, for investment funds made available through it and its subsidiary, Wespath Institutional Investments.
Glenview, IL—Wespath Benefits and Investments (Wespath) has joined a group of global institutional investors in signing a Statement on Coronavirus Response calling on members of the business community to personify their corporate citizenship and support communities amid the COVID-19 crisis.
The Statement—organized by Domini Impact Investments, the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility and the New York City Comptroller’s Office—urges companies to prioritize the welfare of their stakeholders and to consider proactive steps such as paid leave and employment retention. To date, 195 investors representing over $4.7 trillion in assets have endorsed the statement.
As the COVID-19 pandemic evolves from a public health emergency to a major economic and labor market crisis, Wespath believes near-term decisions made by corporations will play a crucial role in defining the speed and nature of the recovery.
"Now is a time for big thinking and big action," said Dave Zellner, Chief Investment Officer. "It is important that investors, companies, banks and public policymakers form a collective response that takes immediate steps to respond to the crisis and builds a long-term path toward a sustainable global economy."
Beyond the recommendations of the Statement, Wespath believes companies and financial institutions can take additional steps to accelerate the economic recovery. Specifically, Wespath appeals to banks to support their trusted borrowers and otherwise viable small business owners through direct action, including:
We also urge all employers to educate and encourage their employees to find ways to support small businesses in their local communities.
Mr. Zellner added, "Together, businesses and investors can help restore public trust and steer the economy toward sustainable, long-term prosperity. We believe this collaborative action will help create a resilient and inclusive future that supports the needs of our participants, institutional investors and the global community."
About Wespath Benefits and Investments
Wespath Benefits and Investments (Wespath) is a not-for-profit agency that has been serving The United Methodist Church (UMC) for over a century. In accordance with its fiduciary duties, Wespath administers benefit plans and, together with its subsidiaries, including Wespath Institutional Investments, invests over $24 billion in assets on behalf of over 100,000 participants and over 100 United Methodist-affiliated institutions (as of February 28, 2020). Wespath invests in a sustainable manner that seeks to achieve positive financial, social and environmental impact while upholding the values of the UMC. Wespath maintains the largest reporting faith-based pension fund in the world. For additional information about Wespath Benefits and Investments, please follow us on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.