London: The Church of England has started a review into whether its holdings in big tech firms are compatible with Christian faith.
The Ethical Investment Advisory Group plans to conduct the review over the next 12 months, addressing the issues including robotics and artificial intelligence, a spokesman for the church said by phone on Sunday.
The news was reported earlier by the Telegraph. It said that ethics specialists and theologians would help determine whether the Church of England’s multibillion investment fund should hold stakes in companies like Amazon.com Inc., Facebook Inc. and Google amid concerns that artificial intelligence undermines “the very idea of God.”
The Church of England, which through its several funds has nearly $15.6 billion (Dh57.2 billion) of investments under management, has been at the forefront of a divestment movement targeting companies failing to meet ethical and environmental rules, and tackle climate change.
Google’s owner Alphabet Inc. has been among top 20 most valuable equity holdings of the Church of England over the past two years.
Amazon was also in that list in 2017, which caused criticism over the Church Commissioners’ investment strategies last year. Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, the most senior cleric in the Church of England, denounced the gig economy as “evil.”
He accused Amazon and other tech companies of “leeching off” the UK by avoiding taxes.