Comic Relief money invested in arms and tobacco shares

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qasidb
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http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-25273024

Millions of pounds donated to Comic Relief have been invested in funds with shares in tobacco, alcohol and arms firms, BBC Panorama has learned.
The BBC has also seen evidence which suggests Save the Children censored criticism of energy firms, to avoid upsetting corporate partners.
Comic Relief said it used its funds to "deliver the greatest benefits to the most vulnerable people".
Save the Children said its campaigns were unaffected by any partnerships.
Comic Relief Comic Relief has raised nearly £1bn for worthwhile causes in the UK and abroad.
It pays out the money it receives to other charities, sometimes over several years.
That means Comic Relief holds tens of millions of pounds at any one time.
The charity uses a number of managed funds which invests that money on the charity's behalf, including in the stock market.
Panorama has learnt that between 2007 and 2009, some of these investments, amounting to millions of pounds, appear to contradict several of its core aims.
Despite its mission statement claiming it is committed to helping "people affected by conflict", in 2009 the charity had £630,000 invested in shares in weapons firm BAE Systems.
Comic Relief also had more than £300,000 invested in shares in the alcohol industry despite its mission statement saying it is "working to reduce alcohol misuse and minimise alcohol related harm".
The majority was invested in Diageo, which manufactures dozens of alcoholic drinks and was criticised by the Health Select Committee in 2009 for exploiting weaknesses in the regulation of alcohol advertising.
Comic Relief also appeals for money to fight tuberculosis and has given over £300,000 to a charity called Target Tuberculosis.
Target TB believes that smoking may be responsible for over 20% of TB cases worldwide.
While raising funds in 2009, nearly £3m of Comic Relief money was invested in shares in tobacco companies.
During that time, entrepreneur and Dragon's Den star Duncan Bannatyne was a full trustee of Comic Relief.
In 2008 he made a BBC documentary attacking a tobacco company for targeting African children.
He told Panorama he "wouldn't put donors' money into tobacco companies" and said charities should invest ethically.
Ethical fund manager Helen Wildsmith looks after the cash of thousands of charities.
She said she was surprised that a charity as high profile as Comic Relief would risk its reputation and future donations.
"If people who've been giving them money, after watching the television, next year think twice and don't give that money, because they're concerned about their investment policy, then that could be argued to be a breach of fiduciary duty."
Comic Relief has now changed the way it presents its accounts and it is currently impossible for the public to tell which funds the charity currently invests in.
It declined to comment on whether any money invested since 2009 is in shares in alcohol, arms, or tobacco companies.
Comic Relief said its approach is within regulatory guidelines.
"We put the money into large managed funds, as many other leading charities and pension funds do," they said.
"On balance, we believe this is the approach that will deliver the greatest benefits to the most vulnerable people."
The Charity Commission, he said, made it clear that trustees "should only adopt an ethical investment approach with specific justification and not on the grounds of individual moral views".
Sam Younger, Charity Commission chief executive, said: "If a charity says 'we need to invest for the maximum financial return' that is right,"
"If they go on to say 'we therefore can't have an ethical investment policy', that's wrong," he said.

What are your thoughts on this? Do you think Comic Relief's investment into arms and tobacco shares is sufficiently justified?
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qasidb
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Bump.
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Martyn*
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If people were as closed minded as they once were (and many still are about this world) this kind of thing would be placed into the "conspiracy theory" category. The truth will come out eventually.
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MatureStudent36
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Anybody remeber the live aid money that went to Ethiopian war lords?
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Rational Thinker
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(Original post by MatureStudent36)
Anybody remeber the live aid money that went to Ethiopian war lords?
Indeed. Bob Geldolf was a fool and still is.
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Mackay
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(Original post by MatureStudent36)
Anybody remeber the live aid money that went to Ethiopian war lords?
Yeah haha.

As Noel Gallagher eloquently said: 'Are they hoping one of these guys from the G8 sees Annie Lennox singing 'Sweet Dreams' and thinks, "**** me, she might have a point there, you know." It's not going to ****ing happen, is it? Keane doing "Somewhere Only We Know" and some Japanese businessman going: "Aw, look at him ... we should really ****in' drop that debt, you know." It's not going to happen, is it?'
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MatureStudent36
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(Original post by Mackay)
Yeah haha.

As Noel Gallagher eloquently said: 'Are they hoping one of these guys from the G8 sees Annie Lennox singing 'Sweet Dreams' and thinks, "**** me, she might have a point there, you know." It's not going to ****ing happen, is it? Keane doing "Somewhere Only We Know" and some Japanese businessman going: "Aw, look at him ... we should really ****in' drop that debt, you know." It's not going to happen, is it?'
They were going to do it and were close to cancelling the debt. Then a group of nutters blew up London.

We'd be carrying that debt now had it gone through.
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