Mercy Investment Services, as a ministry of the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas, recognizes the moral imperative to work for a just and sustainable world, and embraces socially responsible investing as a means of promoting systemic change to respond to the critical needs of the time. Inspired by the mission, vision and Direction Statement of the Sisters of Mercy, Mercy Investment Services is committed to be a leading voice in socially responsible investing. We take our example from the legacy of Catherine McAuley, foundress of the Sisters of Mercy, who devoted her life and financial resources to the service of the poor, sick and uneducated, with a particular focus on women and children. She was a tireless advocate on behalf of those marginalized by society, and she collaborated with others to remedy the injustices of her day.
Mercy Investment Services recognizes that the investment of financial resources is itself a ministry of the Sisters of Mercy, which gives expression to our enduring concerns for the poor, sick and uneducated. Consistent with its role as a responsible social and financial steward of the invested assets of the Sisters of Mercy, Mercy Investment Services seeks to preserve and enhance the funds while utilizing investments congruent with the values and mission of the Sisters of Mercy, as amplified in the Direction Statement and critical concerns of the Sisters of Mercy, acting in harmony with the Mercy International Association justice agenda, both locally and globally. In order to meet these goals, Mercy Investment Services will utilize Portfolio Screens, thereby avoiding investment in certain companies whose products, services or activities are notably contrary to these guiding principles. It will actively seek investments in companies whose activities demonstrate a positive record of accomplishment in matters aligned with the guiding principles of the Sisters of Mercy.
Mercy Investment Services will actively promote changes in corporate practices to achieve social and economic justice, a sustainable Earth and the common good. As a means of speaking with a corporate voice and promoting systemic change in addressing our global reality, Mercy Investment Services will implement a comprehensive program of Shareholder Advocacy, in collaboration with others who share our commitment to human dignity, mercy and justice. Through this program, Mercy Investment Services will engage companies by filing resolutions and participating in dialogues, educate on issues of concern, and vote proxies of companies owned in the investment portfolio.
We also recognize the critical role financial resources play in addressing underlying social justice issues, such as inadequate access to housing, jobs, education and health services in underserved communities, and in witnessing to our enduring concerns about creating a just and sustainable world. We affirm our commitment to investments in low-income communities and underrepresented populations as a means of being responsive to basic human needs, promoting systemic change and justice and as a prudent investment of our funds. Consequently, Mercy Investment Services will continue a Community Investing Program that was begun in 1995, known as Mercy Partnership Fund. We commit to a leadership role in community investing in both our significant funding of Mercy Partnership Fund and in our collaboration with others to respond to these global needs. These community investments are expected to preserve invested capital while earning less than market returns in exchange for their high social impact. Recognizing that addressing climate change is the greatest moral imperative of our time, Mercy Investment Services created the Environmental Solutions Fund in 2015, which funds mission-related, positive market-rate alternative investment projects focused on renewable energy, energy and water efficiency, materials recycling, green buildings, sustainable agriculture and sustainable forestry.
Mercy Investment Services' approach to ESG and socially responsible investing is defined in two policies: the Statement of Investment Policies and Objectives and the Social Responsibility Philosophy and Policy. These documents, which describe the essential components of our socially responsible investing program, are regularly reviewed and updated by the appropriate committees and proposed to the Board of Directors for approval, as appropriate.
In addition, recognizing that addressing climate change represents the greatest moral imperative of our time, Mercy Investment Services adopted a Statement on Climate Change in 2016, which describes the organization’s efforts and the multiple approaches of company engagement, proactive investments in clean energy solutions, exclusion of certain sectors (thermal coal, oil sands), and the need for attention to our own carbon consumption. This policy is regularly reviewed and updated by the Social Responsibility Committee, as needed.