A Question of Values: The ICCR Story
A film by Peter Swanson
A Question of Values tells the compelling story of the Interfaith Center On Corporate Responsibility or ICCR and how the organization inspired an investment philosophy that has changed corporate behavior. For a long time this movement was perceived as a bunch of naive “do-gooders” trying to meddle in the affairs of corporations. But…a funny thing happened over the years. Some of the changes these “do-gooders” were lobbying for, actually made corporations more profitable. There are many corporations who now view these engaged investors as critical monitors, flagging problems that affect the bottom line. Throughout history there have been calls to inject moral values into investment strategies, but never has it been done in a more organized and impactful way as is being done by ICCR. From its roots in the anti-apartheid movement to currently representing over 100 billion dollars in assets the organization has pioneered the principles of shareholder engagement.
From barrios to boardrooms, our cameras will go out in the field to document the issues that ICCR has been engaging corporations around. We will weave together scenes with ICCR Members, corporate executives and people whose lives have been changed by ICCR’s work. The underlying tension in this project, and the reason to follow ICCR in telling this story, is that it raises the question of values. Many people are turned off by religion and “values” because we all have different values. However, these nuns, ministers, priests, and lay people don’t run and hide from values, they stay true to their core and in doing so have had real impact on both people’s lives and corporate behavior.
Inspiring a Movement
The story of ICCR goes well beyond religious institutions. As we follow the growth of ICCR we will discover that members include major union pension funds, foundations and NGOs. Conversations with leaders of these organizations, illustrated with scenes of their operations, will reveal how joining forces with ICCR has helped align missions and assets.
In addition, notable SRI asset managers will speak of how ICCR inspired a movement and how more and more investors, worldwide, are seeking to incorporate their values into investment decisions…and why this is paying off in portfolio value. In looking to the future, the film will pause to look at some of the global issues confronting our planet. Climate change, human trafficking, water and food security are just a few. For many these are overwhelming issues that seem insurmountable and intractable. But there is a different view. From ICCR members and staff, veterans of hard fought campaigns of social change, we will learn of the power of patience, persistence and coalition building. Finally, from high profile leaders of the faith and business communities, we will hear a clarion call for action…values matter…apply them wisely and help change the world.
Our primary audience for this project is people and organizations that are pre-disposed to be receptive to the message – people of faith. At the national level, the pension funds and endowments of many in the faith community have joined with ICCR, but there are still many large, faith-based institutions that maintain the firewalls between mission and investments. At the local level there are thousands of churches and religious institutions that don’t even know the organization exists. We also see a vast secondary audience, as there are many secular organizations, like foundations and pension funds, whose missions are in line with the work of ICCR, but are still reluctant to breach those firewalls. Combined, they have a huge potential for adding to ICCR’s impact.
Fear, confusion and skepticism about mixing values with investments still permeate many of these institutions. Terms like shareholder advocacy, impact investing, green investing and divestment campaigns tend to get thrown in together under the heading of “socially responsible investing,” which often is associated with a trade-off between financial gain and social good. Investment boards need to be inspired…. they need to see that this works, both on a social and financial level. Then they need to be shown a path to participation without with radical, wholesale upheaval of portfolios. The story of ICCR will help to clarify concepts, demonstrate impact and highlight a way forward, giving viewers a better understanding for options in applying their own values to investments.
The medium lends itself broad distribution and with a maximum length of twenty minutes, we will be able to take advantage of many options. ICCR’s network can create numerous opportunities to show the film, in whole, or in targeted shorter versions. YouTube links can be widely spread, cost effectively. The film can be used in presentations to pension funds, investment committees, churches and corporations. Screenings can be a featured attraction at conferences and trade shows.
Using the power of story we can connect with people’s emotions and open minds to new ideas. Stories create new associations, engage our senses, and touch our emotions. They can deliver a message not just as facts, but also as holistic and new experiences. In his book “A Whole New Mind,” author Daniel Pink sums up the power of story: “Stories are important cognitive events, for they encapsulate, into one compact package, information, knowledge, context and emotion.”
The story of ICCR is a great story that needs to be told.
- Powerful Story — The story of ICCR’s origins and evolution is a powerful example of how values rooted in faith have impacted corporate behavior.
- Create Awareness — Clarify and Inspire – The project will tell ICCR’s story to a vast audience, with clarity and emotion that inspires action.
- Demonstrate Best Practices — The film will demonstrate proven methods for leveraging financial assets to affect change.
- Powerful Yet Flexible Tools – The medium is an effective transmitter of stories to diverse audiences, large and small.
- Reaching a Targeted Audience – Targeted messages aimed at audiences that are primed to hear them.
Company Web Site: www.globalviz.com
Peter Swanson, ProducerSEE MEMBER PROFILE