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firm drops charity on ethical grounds

October 2004

A company that helps charities to raise money has terminated its street fund-raising contract with the UK-based Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) after learning that the charity holds shares in defence companies.

Oxford-based Dialogue Direct has severed its relationship with the RNLI after the Campaign Against Arms Trade revealed the charity invests in Cobham, GKN and Rolls-Royce.

RNLI’s fundraising and communications director David Brann said the charity regularly reviews its investment policy, but would not act on the findings because the shareholdings do not stop it from realizing its objectives. Brann believes there would be a case for selling if RNLI supporters were opposed, but says this is not the case.

‘If this investment was proving to our financial detriment, that would be an issue. But our supporters say investment in defence is a good thing,’ he claimed. Dialogue Direct confirmed it had ended the contract because the charity held shares in defence companies, but declined to give more detail.

The RNLI had equity investments of £181.2million ($326.3m) in 2003.




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