overhead shot of many children from Sudan all in pink shirts

We've torn a new page off the calendar, and as 2015 is unmistakably underway, it is time to consider how we will embrace this year. For those whose finances allow for investing, there is an important update on the work of Investors Against Genocide to encourage U.S. investment firms to develop and implement policies on genocide-free investing (GFI). The goal is to help individual investors avoid investing in companies with ties to genocide and crimes against humanity.

In 2015 there is an expansion of concerted effort, including appeals to the companies BlackRock and VOYA, encouraging them to have a shareholder resolution on their corporate ballots. BlackRock is the world's largest asset manager with $6 trillion of assets under management and is one of the largest holders of both PetroChina and Sinopec, two of the primary supporters of the genocidal government in Sudan. VOYA is the new corporate name for the old ING US mutual funds. The organization's genocide-free investing proposal won the vote at the ING Emerging Countries Fund in 2012, but ING chose to ignore the will of its shareholders and did not improve its investment policies.

The goal is to help individual investors avoid investing in companies with ties to genocide and crimes against humanity.

In addition to the planned votes at BlackRock and VOYA, there are more than 100 mutual funds with pending shareholder proposals. Future shareholder campaigns will be pointed toward JP Morgan and Franklin Resources. So many casual investors don't do a lot of due diligence to see what their dollars support. Don't unkowingly fund oppressive, genocidal regimes and practices—just like your choices at the grocery store and charitable contributions, you can know where your money goes.


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About The Author

Andrew Mersmann's picture

Andrew is the author of Frommer's global guide to volunteer vacations, "500 Places Where You Can Make a Difference" (Gold Medal Winner from Society of American Travel Writers: Best Guide Book 2010). He spent more than a decade on the editorial team of PASSPORT Magazine. He has volunteered and led teams on service projects around the world, and is honored to be on the boards of directors for the Alisa Ann Ruch Burn Foundation (AARBF.org) and Mentor Artists Playwrights Project (mentorartists.org). Mersmann has been a featured speaker, interview guest, or moderator on several travel talks, from the New York Times Travel Show, Smithsonian Associates, and the 92nd Street Y-TriBeCa to Oprah and Friends, Animal House, and The Focus Group on satellite radio as well as on NY1 television. Past participant at the Clinton Global Initiative and judge for Condé Nast World Changers Conference, he blogs about volunteering and service travel at www.ChangeByDoing.com. As part of the evox television team, he is dedicated to audience engagement, so if you're not engaged, he needs to be thumped on the head (gently)...or at least told (nicely). Twitter: /ChangeByDoing

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