What is BRI? Defining Faith Based Investing
The definition of Biblically Responsible Investing (BRI) used and promoted by the Christian Investment Forum (CIF) remains purposefully broad. While there are some examples of the term BRI being narrowly used for only a specific set of criteria for investing, the use of the term BRI by the Christian Investment Forum is broad and is interchangeable with other similar terms used by investors who incorporate Christian faith into the investing process. Those include Faith Integrated Investing, Morally Responsible Investing, Stewardship Investing, Values Based Investing, and others.
In this broader scope, Biblically Responsible Investing is a term used to describe an approach to investing assets in a way that is in alignment with the investor’s faith and Biblical beliefs. The definition that CIF uses is as follows:
“BRI is an investment decision making process that applies Christian values to issues facing shareholders and stakeholders regarding moral and social principles. This coupled with traditional financial analysis provides a platform for investment decisions that allows us to be faithful stewards of God’s gifts and respect the foundational beliefs of our shared Christian faith.”
By defining BRI as an approach that seeks to align investments with the investor’s faith and Biblical beliefs, BRI is by definition a personal process. While Christians share core foundational beliefs, it is also true that on many topics personal faith will lead Christians to differing opinions and more importantly differing priorities. This makes it difficult to place a simple label or definition on what BRI is and what it is not, or how it is applied into the investment decision making process. In this sense, BRI is an approach to investing, one that is explicit in incorporating Christian values on social, environmental, and governance issues into the investment decision-making, management, and engagement activities. In our view, BRI is not a certification process or method to quantify performance.
As the Christian Investment Forum defines it, BRI is not a legalistic concept or practice, it is a motivation. Simply said, the heart of BRI is the heart. No one can act as judge to certify one portfolio as BRI and another as not BRI certified.
But what does that really mean? It means BRI is about “doing all we can do to give God our best”. BRI is about loving what God loves, and seeking to own and profit from companies that align with that love. Conversely, it is about avoiding companies that conflict with that love, or are more aligned with our sinful nature. In practice, that often means not investing in companies that profit significantly from things such as addictive behavior, abortion and pornography, and abusive practices toward God’s physical or human creations. And it is also about finding and investing in companies that positively impact their communities, the environment and our society.
In practice, BRI becomes a more complex process of setting values, priorities, and appropriate thresholds to develop a clear approach to investing. It also requires detailed levels of information and transparency so that the values, priorities and thresholds can be objectively measured and managed.