Diocese of Ely's Ethical Approach

Investment portfolio

The Diocese of Ely is fortunate in having an investment portfolio, whose purpose is to generate income to support the ministry of the Church.  The income is used to support payments of stipends to clergy (and hence clergy numbers), the work of the Board of Finance and Board of Education, and for other general purposes. 

The Diocese is acutely conscious that it, and we all, owe a duty to God to act as good stewards of His creation.  God created heaven and the earth, and at the time of the creation he saw that it was good (Genesis ch. 1).  God placed Adam into the Garden of Eden “to dress it and to keep it” (Genesis 2, v. 15), which we interpret as a requirement on all Christians to be faithful keepers and stewards of His creation.  Psalm 24 reminds us that the earth is not ours, but God’s, saying that “the earth is the Lord’s, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell within it”.

Ethical Investment Policy

It is therefore incumbent on the Diocese to manage its investments in accordance with this duty.  Thus, the Diocese’s Investment Policy (which is to maximise a sustainable level of income, while at the same time protecting the long term capital value of its assets) is subject to its Ethical Investment Policy, and the latter takes priority over the former. The Ely Diocesan Board of Finance (EDBF) is now fully disinvested from all direct oil and mining companies.

The Diocese’s Ethical Investment Policy states that:

“The Church of England believes that taking account of environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues is an intrinsic part of being a good long term investor, for both ethical and financial reasons.  The Diocese of Ely has always attached great importance to investing in a way that is consistent with Christian values.  The Church of England is a signatory to the UN backed Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI), committing us to incorporating ESG issues into our investment analysis and decision making process.”

Implementation of the Ethical Investment Policy

Management of the Diocese’s investments is delegated by the Finance Committee to the Assets Sub-Committee (ASC). 

The ASC’s policy is not to own or manage any stocks or shares directly, but instead to employ professional managers to do so on its behalf.  The ASC meets its ethical investment duties by selecting managers who adhere to high levels of ethical standards when managing the Diocese’s assets, and who invest the Diocese’s assets accordingly. 

 At present, the ASC employs the following three managers:


  • CCLA stands for ‘Churches, Charities and Local Authorities’.  We are invested in certain of its Central Board of Finance (CBF) Church of England Funds, all of which are managed in accordance with the policies of the Church of England’s Ethical Investment Advisory Group. 


  • EdenTree is a specialist responsible and sustainable investment manager, which has been awarded the title of ‘best ethical investment provider’ at the MoneyFacts Life & Pensions Awards for thirteen consecutive years.  EdenTree is part of the Benefact Group of financial services companies (which also includes the Ecclesiastical Insurance Office), which is owned by the charity Benefact Trust, formerly called AllChurches Trust. 


  • Rathbones is one of the leading investment managers for charities and not-for-profit organisations in the UK.  Our portfolio is ranked ‘leader’ status (the highest possible level) for its ethical, responsible and sustainable nature.

Our managers are able to apply negative screening (companies they will not invest in, on ethical grounds), positive screening (companies they are particularly attracted to on ethical, responsible or sustainable grounds) and thematic approaches to pick what they believe to be the best investments within those parameters.  They also actively engage with senior management of their portfolio companies and, if they have ethical concerns, vote accordingly at company meetings.

In additional to its stocks and shares, the Diocese owns a portfolio of Glebe land, which is managed by three local firms of professional Land Agents.  Almost all of this land is tenanted, mostly on historic tenancies under the Agricultural Holdings Act, where the Diocese has no ability to influence farming practices.

Page last updated: Friday 10th November 2023 11:57 AM
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