Church takes action on cheap supermarket drinks

30 June, 2011

Supermarkets deemed to be running irresponsible deals on alcohol could find investment withdrawn by the Church of England.

The church has relaxed its blanket ban on investing in companies which make more than 25% of their money from drinks. But for it to invest in any company that derives 5% or more of its income from alcohol, it will want to be satisfied that certain ethical standards are met.

John Reynolds, chair of the church’s Ethical Investment Advisory Group, said: “The EIAG is concerned about corporate complicity in the misuse of alcohol, including through inappropriate pricing and promotions.

“Institutional investors don’t talk to the supermarkets about this and our old policy had no teeth because we couldn’t divest from a supermarket. We want to use our influence as shareholders to bear down hard on poor corporate practice and to encourage good practice.”

Policy implementation will be supported by an advisory group whose members will include experts associated with health, youth, and law and order charities. Labelling, marketing, and pricing and promotions are key areas of concern.

The church’s investment assets are valued at £8 billion.

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