Non-profit

Midwest Coalition for Responsible Investment

Location:

St. Louis, MO, United States

Tax-Exempt Status:

501(c)(3)

Formation:

1977

Executive Director:

Barbara Jennings

ESG Activism

Midwest Coalition for Responsible Investment (MCRI) is an interfaith shareholder engagement organization based in St. Louis. Founded in 1977, MCRI works with the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility to advocate left-of-center “corporate social responsibility” policies. [1]

MCRI initially focused its efforts on the opposition of apartheid in South Africa, [2] and expanded its efforts to include broader issues like nuclear waste, military contracts, and agricultural pesticides. In 2015, MCRI prioritized issues including climate change, labor unionism, and the right to food and water. [3]

MCRI is a religious organization, and as such, has no tax filings. While the exact sources of their funding are unclear, MCRI does invest the organization’s money into corporations, so they may have power as a shareholder to effect change. [4]

MCRI has invested and engaged with a variety of companies, including Shell Oil, Coca Cola, Nestle,[5] Ameren, Arch Coal, Boeing, Monsanto, and Peabody Energy. [6]

In 2019, MCRI merged with Seventh Generation Interfaith (SGI), a Milwaukee-based coalition for responsible investment. [7]

Background

Midwest Coalition for Responsible Investment was founded in 1977 by a group of Catholic institutions in the St. Louis area to oppose apartheid in South Africa by engaging with companies like Shell Oil, and Coca-Cola. [8]

MCRI joined forces with the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility, and established itself as a socially responsible investment (SRI) coalition, enlisting shareholder engagement as a tactic for pushing a left-of-center agenda. [9]

Early on, MCRI focused on issues like nuclear waste, military contracts, and agricultural pesticides. In 2015, MCRI prioritized human rights issues, including climate change, labor rights, and the right to food and water. [10]

In 2019, MCRI merged with Seventh Generation Interfaith (SGI), a Milwaukee-based coalition for left-of-center corporate advocacy. At the time of the merger, MCRI had nine members, comprised of eight faith-based organizations and JAG Capital Management. These members will continue with corporate engagement on behalf of the SGI coalition. [11]

Supported Issues

Midwest Coalition for Responsible Investment submitted its first resolution in 1978, asking McDonnell Douglas, a former aerospace manufacturing corporation and defense contractor, to decrease its business with military contracts. [12]

In 2011, MCRI encouraged its supporters to buy stock in Ameren, a Missouri-based power company, to build shareholder support that would vote in favor of the Coalition’s resolution requiring Ameren to submit full reports on its coal combustion products. [13]

MCRI has focused much of its recent efforts on water, asking companies to “adopt a policy for the Human Right to Water,” and to disclose information on specific water projects, including verifications from independent third parties. Resolutions for these and other company-specific water issues have been submitted to companies like Ameren, Arch Coal, Monsanto, and Peabody Energy. [14]

People

Barbara Jennings was the most recent and last executive director of MCRI, a position held since 2007. She serves on the boards of Seventh Generation Interfaith,[15] and Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility. She formerly served on the boards of NETWORK, Missouri Catholic Conference Public Policy Council, and the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph (CSJ) Social Justice Committee. [16]

Susan Jordan was the coordinator for MCRI from 1981 to 2007. [17] In that position, Jordan was responsible for expanding the scope of MCRI’s issues, including corporate engagement with companies like Union Electric (now Ameren), General Dynamics, Boeing, and Monsanto (now Bayer). [18]

Mary Ann McGivern co-founded MCRI in 1977. [19] McGivern proposed MCRI’s first proposal to McDonnell Douglas in 1978, concerning military contracts. [20] She currently serves on the board of the Peace Economy Project, and chairs the Empower Missouri Criminal Justice Task Force. [21]

References

  1. Greenbaum, Charlotte, and Swenson, Bree. “Midwest Coalition for Responsible Investment.” Cargo Collective. Accessed November 10, 2019. https://cargocollective.com/ALookAtAgencyHereAtHome/Midwest-Coalition-for-Responsible-Investment-St-Louis-MO. ^
  2. Jennings, Barbara. “Shareholder Activism Compliments Environmental Activism.” Renew Missouri, July 15, 2011. Accessed November 10, 2019. https://renewmo.org/re-news/shareholder-activism-complements-environmental-activism/. ^
  3. Jennings, Barbara. “MCRI Merges with SGI Coalition for Responsible Investing.” Seventh Generation Interfaith, August 5, 2019. Accessed November 10, 2019. https://seventhgenerationinterfaith.org/tag/midwest-coalition-for-responsible-investment/. ^
  4. Greenbaum, Charlotte, and Swenson, Bree. “Midwest Coalition for Responsible Investment.” Cargo Collective. Accessed November 10, 2019. https://cargocollective.com/ALookAtAgencyHereAtHome/Midwest-Coalition-for-Responsible-Investment-St-Louis-MO. ^
  5. Jennings, Barbara. “Shareholder Activism Compliments Environmental Activism.” Renew Missouri, July 15, 2011. Accessed November 10, 2019. https://renewmo.org/re-news/shareholder-activism-complements-environmental-activism/. ^
  6. “MCRI Annual Report 2013.” Sisters of the Most Precious Blood of O’Fallon, August 2013. Accessed November 10, 2019. http://cpps-ofallon.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/MCRI-Annual-Report-2013.pdf. ^
  7. Jennings, Barbara. “MCRI Merges with SGI Coalition for Responsible Investing.” Seventh Generation Interfaith, August 5, 2019. Accessed November 10, 2019. https://seventhgenerationinterfaith.org/tag/midwest-coalition-for-responsible-investment/. ^
  8. Jennings, Barbara. “Shareholder Activism Compliments Environmental Activism.” Renew Missouri, July 15, 2011. Accessed November 10, 2019. https://renewmo.org/re-news/shareholder-activism-complements-environmental-activism/. ^
  9. Jennings, Barbara. “MCRI Merges with SGI Coalition for Responsible Investing.” Seventh Generation Interfaith, August 5, 2019. Accessed November 10, 2019. https://seventhgenerationinterfaith.org/tag/midwest-coalition-for-responsible-investment/. ^
  10. Jennings, Barbara. “MCRI Merges with SGI Coalition for Responsible Investing.” Seventh Generation Interfaith, August 5, 2019. Accessed November 10, 2019. https://seventhgenerationinterfaith.org/tag/midwest-coalition-for-responsible-investment/. ^
  11. Jennings, Barbara. “MCRI Merges with SGI Coalition for Responsible Investing.” Seventh Generation Interfaith, August 5, 2019. Accessed November 10, 2019. https://seventhgenerationinterfaith.org/tag/midwest-coalition-for-responsible-investment/. ^
  12. Jennings, Barbara. “MCRI Merges with SGI Coalition for Responsible Investing.” Seventh Generation Interfaith, August 5, 2019. Accessed November 10, 2019. https://seventhgenerationinterfaith.org/tag/midwest-coalition-for-responsible-investment/. ^
  13. Jennings, Barbara. “Shareholder Activism Compliments Environmental Activism.” Renew Missouri, July 15, 2011. Accessed November 10, 2019. https://renewmo.org/re-news/shareholder-activism-complements-environmental-activism/. ^
  14. “MCRI Annual Report 2013.” Sisters of the Most Precious Blood of O’Fallon, August 2013. Accessed November 10, 2019. http://cpps-ofallon.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/MCRI-Annual-Report-2013.pdf. ^
  15. Jennings, Barbara. “MCRI Merges with SGI Coalition for Responsible Investing.” Seventh Generation Interfaith, August 5, 2019. Accessed November 10, 2019. https://seventhgenerationinterfaith.org/tag/midwest-coalition-for-responsible-investment/. ^
  16. “Barbara Jennings.” Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility, 2018. Accessed November 10, 2019. https://www.iccr.org/about-iccr/iccrs-board-directors/barbara-jennings. ^
  17. “Susan Jordan.” Sister Schools of Notre Dame. Accessed November 10, 2019. https://www.ssndcentralpacific.org/file/jubilee-2013/50/Susan-Jordan.pdf. ^
  18. Jennings, Barbara. “MCRI Merges with SGI Coalition for Responsible Investing.” Seventh Generation Interfaith, August 5, 2019. Accessed November 10, 2019. https://seventhgenerationinterfaith.org/tag/midwest-coalition-for-responsible-investment/. ^
  19. McGivern, Mary Ann. “Responsible Investing: Small Acts for Good do Add Up.” National Catholic Reporter, August 22, 2018. Accessed November 10, 2019. https://www.ncronline.org/news/opinion/ncr-today/responsible-investing-small-acts-good-do-accumulate. ^
  20. Jennings, Barbara. “MCRI Merges with SGI Coalition for Responsible Investing.” Seventh Generation Interfaith, August 5, 2019. Accessed November 10, 2019. https://seventhgenerationinterfaith.org/tag/midwest-coalition-for-responsible-investment/. ^
  21. “Mary Ann McGivern.” Loretto Community, 2019. Accessed November 10, 2019. https://www.lorettocommunity.org/author/maryannmcgivern/. ^
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Midwest Coalition for Responsible Investment


St. Louis, MO
United States