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Thursday, March 30, 2017
Anglicans drop shares in arms company
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¬†Christian peace campaigners have praised the Church of England's decision to drop shares in a company selling military hardware. Following an ethical review of their £5.6bn portfolio, the Anglican Church Commissioners are getting rid of £15m shares in GKN, a company which sells military aircraft, tanks and helicopters to foreign regimes including Indonesia and several African countries involved in civil wars. When the church began investing in the arms industry, a spokesperson said they only were involved with companies selling equipment that helped nations defend themselves, or for use on peacekeeping missions. Now, however, the ethical advisory committee concluded that equipment was being sold on such a wide scale it was impossible to monitor where it was going. A spokesman said: "We're allying ourselves to what we think most Christians would find acceptable. The reality is that these kind of companies are no longer investing in areas which we would have said are appropriate." He added that further investments were likely to be disposed of in future. For several years peace campaigners have been calling for the Church of England to give up their shares in GKN. See Protest against church funding arms trade, ICN, 17 May. Pax Christi spokeswoman Bethan Hillas said: "We welcome this development." Bruce Kent, past chair of CND said: "Well done to the Anglicans. But I hope they've kept a few shares in order to be able to sit in on board meetings. It is important to keep trying to influence these companies." The Catholic Church in England and Wales has never had a centralised investment portfolio, a spokesman from the Catholic Media Office told ICN on Tuesday. He said:"During the 1970s, Birmingham Archdiocese began pursuing ethical investment policies and the others followed."
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