From the Worldwide Faith News archives


Date 04 May 1996 20:45:33


                         by Julian Shipp 
 BEDFORD PARK, Ill.--The Mission Responsiblity Through Investment Committee 
(MRTI) has 
 approved a list of 25 tobacco and military-related corporations that meet 
the General Assembly 
 criteria for divestment. 
     The list was approved Oct. 7 following a joint meeting of MRTI and the 
Social and Ethical 
 Responsibility Committee for Investments of American Baptist Churches. 
     The Assembly's guidelines on military-related investments identify the 
affected companies 
 according to four criteria, including companies among the top 10 firms 
engaged in foreign military 
 sales during the most recent fiscal year for which statistics are 
available. Corporations that produce 
 weapons that can lead to mass and indiscriminate injury and/or death to 
civilians are also listed under 
 the Assembly guidelines. 
      Companies listed are Alliant Techsystems, Avondale Industries, 
E.G.&G., General 
 Dynamics, General Motors (Hughes), Litton, Lockheed-Martin, Logicon, 
Loral, McDonnell Douglas, 
 Northrop-Grumman, Oshkosh Truck, Raytheon, United Technologies and 
     The Assembly's guidelines on tobacco investments identify the 
companies among the top 10 
 in annual revenues from tobacco-related business averaged over two years. 
     These companies are Philip Morris, BAT Industries PLC, RJR Nabisco 
Holding Corp., 
 American Brands, Compagnie Financiere Richemont AG, Rothmans International 
PLC, Hanson 
 PLC, Universal Corp., Imasco LTD, and Loews Corp. 
     "Many of these companies have been on the [General Assembly] list for 
years," said Bill 
 Somplatsky-Jarman, associate for MRTI and environmental justice in the 
National Ministries 
 Division. "But a few are new due to recent corporate mergers." 
     According to Somplatsky-Jarman, the list will be sent to the Board of 
Pensions and the 
 Presbyterian Foundation. He said both organizations have their own 
procedures for communicating 
 to their investment managers how divestment and/or proscription action 
will be taken. 
     Somplatsky-Jarman said the list of companies will also be distributed 
to all PC(USA)-related 
 colleges and seminaries. 
     He said companies newly identified by the Assembly criteria will 
receive a letter of 
 notification and request for information. MRTI will  also communicate with 
the presbytery where 
 the company is headquartered. 
     For example, Somplatsky-Jarman said, General Electric Corp. did not 
drop out of the top 10 
 military contractors despite the sale of its aerospace division. In 
addition, he said, GE is among the 
 top 10 companies engaged in foreign military sales and is now subject to 
MRTI's one-year waiting 
     During this time, he said, presbytery executives could respond to 
MRTI's inquiry and cite 
 reasons why GE should not be listed for divestment. 
     "This would give both the presbytery and [GE] time to respond," 
Somplatsky-Jarman said. 
     During the meeting, the MRTI and American Baptist Church committees 
met with Amoco 
 Corporation, Northern Trust Company and Velsicol Corporation to learn more 
about their respective 
 corporate programs. 
     The discussions with Amoco and Velsicol focused on environmental 
issues. The dialogue 
 with Northern Trust centered on the bank's acclaimed programs on workforce 
     Additionally, the committees met with Steve Coates of the 
U.S./Guatemala Labor Education 
 Project, an organization with extensive experience in improving working 
conditions for Maquiladora 
 and agricultural workers in Guatemala. 
     MRTI members also selected the Rev. Gary Miller, campus minister at 
Lafayette College, 
 as its chairperson. Claire McDonald of Clairmont, Calif., will serve as 
vice chair. 

For more information contact Presbyterian News Service
  Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Louisville, KY 40202
  phone 502-569-5504            fax 502-569-8073  
  E-mail   Web page: 


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