Pensions and recklessness

January 14, 2015 | God at work in the World | Number 2
By Will Braun |

In “Do Not Store up Treasures in Pensions” (Jan. 5, 2015 issue) I wrote about Mennonite Church (MC) Canada's “core option” pension plan and the complications of Socially Responsible Investment. See the article here.

“Pensions: Follow the Money,” the online supplement to that piece, lists the companies and entities that constitute the MC Canada “core option.”

I followed up with “Holy Recklessness,” (Jan. 19, 2015 issue), a piece about my journey from youthful idealism to real-world pension decisions. Below are more thoughts concerning this second article.

Where your treasure is: Matthew 6: 19-34

New Revised Standard Version at Bible Gateway

Facebook flurry

On November 3, 2014, Mennonite Church Canada employee Steve Heinrichs posted the following on Facebook: 

“Confession. Last week I discovered that my socially conscious pension is knee-deep in tar sands and fracking investments, not to mention mining exploitation. This is the Jantzi Social Index that most Mennonite pastors, teachers and workers are a part of. I commit to getting out of this. And I pray many will join me. The Mennonite Church Canada Confession states: "we are called to care for the earth and to bring rest and renewal to the land... As stewards of money, we are to live simply, practice mutual aid, uphold economic justice...and not be anxious about the necessities of life" (Article 21). The pension, as it stands, does not allow us to live faithfully. We must imagine and enact an alternative. Please share to help stir a dialogue.”

Click here to read his friends’ responses. 

Bombardier: The socially responsible military supplier

I was surprised to see Bombardier on the Jantzi Social Index (JSI), a list of 60 companies that serves as an important standard in the realm of Socially Responsible Investment and one part of the MC Canada “core option.” Bombardier makes military training equipment and military surveillance aircraft.

I asked the folks at Sustainalytics, which runs the JSI. They sent the following response:

“The JSI has two criteria for military contracting: 1) manufactures military weapons and/or weapons systems, and 2) derives five percent or more of annual revenues from the manufacturing of secondary components of weapons and/or weapons systems, or from weapons-related services. While Bombardier does have contracts with the military, the company is not considered involved based on both criteria applied to the JSI.”

—Posted Jan. 14, 2015

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