Christian mutual funds, codes of ethics and corporate illegalities
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to assess the compatibility between the religious investing criteria of some Christian mutual funds and the “ Interfaith Center for Corporate Responsibility” (ICCR) shareholder resolutions about corporate unethical/illegal practices. Design/methodology/approach – Among all ICCR 2007-2008 shareholder resolutions, the paper analyze unethical practices that could lead to corporate illegalities for business corporations that are included in the portfolios of Christian mutual funds. It will determines to what extent such companies have codes of ethics that clearly explained the expected behaviour from their employees, managers, or directors about given ethical issues: sexual orientation discrimination, conflicts of interest on the board and slave labour in the supply chain. Findings – About the issue of slave labour in the supply chain, managers of Christian mutual funds could not invoke ignorance since in the code of ethics of one company, there is no provision dealing with slave labour. Concerning conflicts of interest on the board, managers of Christian mutual funds could not identify potential risks related to those companies, since the problem is the applicability of their codes of ethics. Finally, companies have very different ways to address or not the issue of sexual orientation discrimination in their codes of ethics. Originality/value – The originality of the paper is twofold: first to compare companies Christian mutual funds are investing in (on the basis of Christian selection criteria) and companies for which there are ICCR resolutions (the aim of such resolutions is to change some questionable or unethical aspect of a given business corporation), and second to see to what extent corporate codes of ethics are written in a way to reduce or increase the potentiality of ethical conflicts.
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