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NCC's Edgar to urge divestment in Sudan

Omaha, May 3, 2007 When the stockholders of Berkshire Hathaway meet here Saturday, they will hear from those urging a socially responsible investment policy toward corporations doing business in Sudan. 

The Rev. Bob Edgar, general secretary of the National Council of Churches USA (NCC), will be among those speakers.

"The NCC was very active urging divestment in South Africa during apartheid," said Rev. Edgar.  "It's time for large investors to do the right thing and stop subsidizing the genocide in Darfur."

Edgar was invited to speak by Judith Porter, a stockholder in Berkshire Hathaway from Ardmore, Pa.  She is the author of a resolution to pull Berkshire Hathaway money out of PetroChina, a company developing much of Sudan's oil reserves.  Berkshire is the second largest holder of PetroChina shares in the world, according to Porter.

Shareholder advocacy is part of the NCC's action plan "to press corporations to end irresponsible behavior or to live up to standards of excellence," says an NCC policy statement.

The 1990 policy statement, "Socially Responsible Investing," (Nov. 14, 1990) was adopted by NCC's General Board.  It prohibits NCC investment in companies that make their profits on alcohol, tobacco or gambling.  Also prohibited is investment in the top 25 Defense Department (DOD) contractors, those that make nuclear, chemical or biological weapons, and those whose DOD contracts are larger than 15 percent of sales.

The NCC has a four decade-long history of advocating for justice issues through responsible economic action.

"I think when Jesus said we should love our neighbors as ourselves," said Edgar, "I think he meant we should probably try every means available to stop those neighbors from being killed.  This is just one way we can follow those words of Jesus."

NCC News contact:  Dan Webster, 212.870.2252,


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