Author Archive

2018 Notable Highlights

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.

 

Donor-Advised Funds

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.

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ESG & Advocacy in 2018

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

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2018 Social Impact Report

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

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Bloomers and Doomers, Two Groups Driving Local Investment

Excerpted and adapted from
The Resilient Investor.


In Local Dollars, Local Sense, a thorough survey of the local investment movement, Michael Shuman makes a compelling case that small businesses comprise about half the GDP of the United States, but most investors are completely missing out. Overinvesting in Wall Street and under investing in Main Street (and other Close to Home Strategies) is a diversification problem that this book, and especially this Strategy, intends to help you overcome. As we mentioned earlier, while this type of financial investment has been difficult at best for most of us, there are encouraging developments underway.

While everyone is involved with at least some, and usually many, “close to home” activities, there are two groups for whom this has become the main focus of their resilient investing practice.

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Resilient Investing: Recognizing Your Real Net-Worth

Our Resilient Investing Map (RIM) invites you to invest in your life in a way that recognizes and grows all of your assets. Indeed, the goal of resilient investing is to consciously and methodically spread your time and your money around the full Map, in order to nourish all the elements of your complete “net-worth.” This will include prudence with your money (Financial Assets), appreciation of your possessions and the built and natural world (Tangible Assets), and nourishing your relationships and inner growth (Personal Assets).

It may feel a little strange to think of, say, the ways you prioritize activities that enhance your child’s wellbeing, and the strategies you’re using to manage a brokerage account, as being parts of a unified investment system. We’re trained to think of these as very different kinds of decisions. But they are indeed related, as both are investments you’re making to bring about a desired result in the future.

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Hope Credit Union: Impact Banking for a Hopeful Future

by Sara Loving

Hope Credit Union mortgage client and first-time homeowner Melbatine Hunter. Photo courtesy Hope Credit Union.

As institutions that give profits back to their members rather than to shareholders, credit unions are usually a better banking option than megabanks. However, choosing a credit union is no guarantee that  our money is being used most effectively in your communities. There are low-impact credit unions, just like there are low-impact banks.

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Eggs and Baskets: the Secret of Resilient Investing

Diversification is, at its root, a response to the ancient admonition you might have learned from grandma: don’t put all of your eggs in one basket. If that basket drops they could all break, ruining your and grandma’s breakfast! This proverb can be traced back to the 17th century, and was popularized by Cervantes in Don Quixote[1]. (Later, Mark Twain, ever the contrarian, proposed the exact opposite: “pull all your eggs in the one basket and—watch that basket!”[2]

The wisdom of Cervantes goes nearly unquestioned today. Virtually every reputable financial firm teaches people about diversification, extolling the importance of spreading out risk. But—and this is an important but—we contend that however well intentioned, Wall Street’s version suffers from two major omissions: first, they focus solely on one’s financial instruments, and second, they can’t model the possibilities of Breakdown/Breakthrough, so they presume that we’ll be Muddling Through for the foreseeable future.

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