The Church of England has sold off almost £2m worth of the shares that they held in News Corporation after concerns about how the £58bn media organisation was being run. The last time that the church made such a large public move was back in 2010 when they sold off almost £4m in shares in the Vedanta mining company after concerns arose about mining bauxite out of sacred India tribal lands.
Concern over the News Corp started when phone hacking allegations first came to light in July of 2011.After allegations were made attempts were made to remove Rupert Murdoch as the chair for the Corporation, but after a year of dialogue and the fact that Murdoch remains in charge the Church of England is not satisfied that the News Corporation will be able to implement correct corporate governance reform.
The decision was not made lightly as talks were held between the Church’s Ethical Investment Advisory Group and the company. The Church of England has strict rules that govern what companies they can invest in and already are excluding from investing in any companies that are involved in any way with pornography, military products or services, gambling, human embryonic cloning, tobacco, alcoholic drinks, and lending with high interest rates attached to them.
However, lately the Church has taken a stronger stance on ethical investments and this has negatively affected the financial performance of the Church’s investments. In fact, just excluding alcohol and tobacco involvement has knocked about two percent off of the Church’s investment portfolio.