Q: Why are investment strategies that incorporate Catholic values becoming more mainstream?

A: Pope Francis has been a dynamic figure in addressing responsible investment, and his impact should not be underestimated. A broader driver appears to be increased interest in social justice issues — in many cases spurred by the younger generation — with particular attention paid to environmental sustainability, peaceful conflict resolution and various manifestations of inequality.

Q: What is the primary objective of Catholic values strategies?

A: We aim to integrate Catholic values into strategies that deliver above-market returns with lower volatility.

Q: How do investors incorporate Catholic values into their investment process?

A: We use the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ investment guidelines as our blueprint. The guidelines are intentionally broad, allowing the investor to screen for both positive and negative company attributes. A common example is the Catholic mandate to protect human life in the context of abortion and contraception. Therefore, we will not invest in health care or pharmaceutical companies providing or manufacturing such products or services. This is a negative screen. Examples of positive screens include crediting companies for exemplary environmental policies, social diversity or exceptional corporate responsibility.

Q: Is it difficult to apply Catholic values to an investment process that seeks to outperform traditional benchmarks?

A: It can be difficult in the sense that the investment team must operate within a constrained, “Catholic approved” investment universe, but it can also be quite rewarding. When weapons manufacturers or large pharmaceutical companies outperform, our strategies face headwinds. Positive factors such as good corporate governance are often rewarded.

Q: What if we want specific companies or industries excluded from our portfolio?

A: We receive these requests frequently and endeavor to construct a Catholic values strategy that meets the client's goals and objectives. More often than not, we are able to customize specific holdings for our clients.

Carver is a Portland area investment consultant. After being an employee in corporate America and learning some people close to him were given the wrong investment advice, Carver set up on his own, advising business owners and individuals about aligning their investments with their values.