Stocks and bonds continued to perform well during the second quarter, in spite of an uncertain trade environment and worrying international tensions with Iran. For the quarter, the stocks of U.S. large companies were up 5.0%, U.S. small companies rose 2.4%, and foreign stocks rose 4.3%. U.S. bonds were up 3.0%.
While the markets ended higher over the three-month period, the rise was interrupted in May, when markets declined steeply after the president increased tariffs on Chinese goods. Reports of slowing global economic growth also contributed to the sell-off. The president likewise imposed tariffs on Mexico but suspended them before they took effect.
Natural Investments, LLC welcomed five new advisors to the firm, expanding our company to twenty advisors across eleven states. We are cultivating the next generation of SRI leaders with wide-ranging expertise in sustainability, social justice, and impact investing.
- Tiffany Brown, San Francisco, CA
- Kirbie Crowe, Greenville, SC
- Joel Koerner, Louisville, KY
- Kate Poole, Asheville, NC
- Sylvia Panek, Chicago, IL
In 2018 we began a relationship with Triskeles Foundation to provide donor-advised funds (DAF). These are charitable giving investment vehicles that an individual, family, or business use to direct an irrevocable contribution of assets to a public charity.
Environmental & Social Impact
Of the $524M in assets under management by Natural Investments, $354M is in ESG-screened funds on the publicly-traded market. ESG refers to a variety of environmental, social, and corporate governance guidelines, known as avoidance and affirmative criteria, used to screen investments. We use them to steer clear of the practices and sectors that cause harm to people and the planet, pressure companies to change their behavior, and support companies and projects that lead to a more just and sustainable society.
While we directed $160M and $110M of assets into weapons-free and tobacco-free funds, our fossil-fuel-free (FFF) portfolio has
Full copy of the 2018 Social Impact Report
While Natural Investments principals have always been thought leaders in the sustainable, responsible, and impact investment (SRI) movement—we’re the only firm in the world to have published three books on the subject—we have generally gone about our business in a quiet manner.
We’ve intentionally remained small by institutional standards, and while we’ve garnered the respect of our SRI peers, we are not a household name. In 2018, our profile changed considerably, in ways that affirm our commitment to integrity in SRI over all else.
A Year of Emerging Leadership: 2018 Reflections, by Michael Kramer
2018 Notable Highlights
2018 ESG & Advocacy
Carbon Offsets: Making a Positive Climate Impact, by Christopher Peck
Profile: Green Century Capital Management, by Brady Quirk-Garvan
Profile: American Homeowners Preservation Fund, by Amy Pender
Profile: Blue Hub Capital, by James Frazier
Profile: Calvert Impact Capital, by Susan K. Taylor
Profile: Iroquois Valley Farms, by Andy Loving
Download a full PDF copy of our 2018 Social Impact Report
Climate change is one of the most urgent global crises facing humanity. This was as true during the Great Recession of 2007-2008 as it is today––yet while government institutions were immediately summoned to support our financial recovery, no such action was taken to mitigate climate change. More than 10 years later, our economy has recovered, but climate change has worsened.
In the United States, neither our leaders nor our institutions are providing the kind of bold climate leadership we need. International organizations that are working to maintain a livable climate don’t have sufficient jurisdictional power or financial resources to achieve impact at the speed and scale necessary to mitigate and adapt to the crisis. What can be done?
Every day brings news of human struggle and environmental crisis. Reports of wildfires, dying lakes, children without access to education, and tent cities of the working homeless spur the urge to help—but the problems are complex and often thousands of miles away. This combination can leave us feeling powerless.
Yet for many of the most challenging problems we face, there are proven solutions that we can support in a tangible way.
American Homeowner Preservation has developed a way to help struggling homeowners by leveraging the power of crowd sourced funding. Since 2008, AHP has helped hundreds of families across the country (and in Puerto Rico) resolve unaffordable mortgage debts and remain in the homes and communities they love.
Like many who have been touched by AHP, Joe Willie Hart had fallen behind on his mortgage due to severe illness. Although he recovered and eventually returned to work, the hefty interest and penalty charges were insurmountable. He started planning for the worst: foreclosure and eviction.
Over the last decade, Natural Investments clients and other accredited investors have contributed more than $173 million to a unique and highly impactful initiative by BlueHub Capital called Stabilizing Urban Neighborhoods (SUN). The nonprofit program has helped more than 1,000 homeowners in foreclosure avoid eviction by purchasing homes at a deep discount from mortgage lenders and then selling the homes back to the former owners immediately, so they don’t have to move.
Since 2006, Iroquois Valley Farmland REIT has served small, family-owned organic farming enterprises by helping them grow their businesses, while supporting the growth and impact of the organic movement. The aim has been to increase the availability of nutritious organic foods while working to support long term soil health. As cofounder and CEO David Miller has said,” We want to help organic farmers provide an answer to the dead soil mono culture across the U.S.”