CHESTERFIELD, Missouri - Mercy, the fifth largest Catholic health care system in the nation, has signed on to the United Nations-supported Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI), becoming the first U.S. health care system to join this network. The PRI is recognized as the leading global network of institutional investors committed to including environmental, social and governance (ESG) considerations in their investment practices. Other signatories of the UN-supported PRI include Harvard University, Summit Strategies Group and Christian Brothers Investment Services.
The PRI’s network of international investors—more than 1,700 representing nearly US$70 trillion in assets under management—work together to implement a set of voluntary principles that provide a framework for integrating ESG factors into investment analysis and ownership practices, aligned with investors’ fiduciary duties. Mercy will implement these principles in its management of the health care system’s corporate, pension and foundation investments, exercising both responsible financial stewardship and ethical and social stewardship over these portfolios.
The six key principles are:
- We will incorporate ESG issues into investment analysis and decision-making processes.
- We will be active owners and incorporate ESG issues into our ownership policies and practices.
- We will seek appropriate disclosure on ESG issues by the entities in which we invest.
- We will promote acceptance and implementation of the principles within the investment industry.
- We will work together to enhance our effectiveness in implementing the principles.
- We will each report on our activities and progress towards implementing the principles.
“The decision to join the PRI network aligns well with Mercy’s mission and values, and speaks to our commitment to invest our portfolio in the most responsible manner possible, taking into account social justice, environmental and governance considerations,” said Jared Bryson, Mercy vice president of mission. “Mercy was founded by the Sisters of Mercy and is a ministry of the Catholic church. We are committed not only to the health of those we serve, but to model mercy, excellence, service and justice and to promote systemic change. By following the UN-supported Principles of Responsible Investing, we are continuing the legacy of the Sisters of Mercy who not only met the needs of the communities they served, but also worked to address their systemic causes.”
“Mercy’s commitment to improving the lives of local communities makes them a perfect fit for the PRI,” said Fiona Reynolds, PRI managing director. “Providing high quality health care to individuals is an incredibly important issue and will continue to be so in the coming decades. By joining the PRI, Mercy is sending a strong signal to other health care providers of the importance of looking at their operations in a long-term and sustainable way. We are delighted to welcome them to the PRI.”
Cheryl Alston, chair of Mercy’s Investment Committee and the CIO of the Employees Retirement System of Dallas, stated, “Mercy’s commitment to investing its portfolio in a socially responsible manner, as well as encouraging others to do the same, is important in continuing Mercy’s mission. We are proud to contribute to the UN-PRI community and lead the way for other health care investors.”
Mercy, named one of the top five large U.S. health systems in 2017 by Truven, an IBM Watson Health company, serves millions annually. Mercy includes 44 acute care and specialty (heart, children’s, orthopedic and rehab) hospitals, more than 700 physician practices and outpatient facilities, 40,000 co-workers and more than 2,000 Mercy Clinic physicians in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma. Mercy also has outreach ministries in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas.