1: FUND MANAGERS FEEL HEAT IN SEC CRACKDOWN OF OVERBLOWN ESG LABELS
With the explosive growth in ESG products in response to consumer demand for sustainable and ethical investments, the Securities & Exchange Commission reviews the criteria companies are using. It is an effort to curtail greenwashing, especially with firms that repackage traditional funds with a green label. Bloomberg
2: HOW ACTIVIST HEDGE FUNDS WENT FROM CORPORATE RAIDERS TO CLIMATE HEROES
A new wave of ESG investors, primarily hedge funds, uses their assets to push for an overhaul of directorships of corporations with a weak focus on long-term social and environmental sustainability. It comes with obstacles, primarily from traditional hedge funds seeking quick and profitable short-term quarterly earnings. Fast Company
3: EXECUTIVE STOCK SALES ARE UNDER SCRUTINY. HERE’S WHAT REGULATORS ARE INTERESTED IN
Securities regulators are rethinking rules on popular plans that let corporate executives sell stock without violating insider-trading provisions. For example, 10b5-1 plans allow executives to create schedules for buying and selling shares in the future, but they can modify without disclosure.
Wall Street Journal
4: ENGINE NO. 1 TAKES CLIMATE FIGHT TO OTHER BIG OIL COMPANIES AFTER UNDERDOG WIN AT EXXON
After battling Exxon Mobil for board seats (and winning three) in a historic proxy battle earlier this year, the hedge fund launched an ETF this summer focusing on shareholder engagement.
Turning Back the Tide of Inequity by Sylvia Panek
Wisdom from SRI Veteran Tim Smith with Michael Kramer
Planning for the Inevitability of Loss by Greg Pitts with Kirbie Crowe
Market Report – Summer 2021 by Scott Secrest
SRI Advocacy Highlights 2021 by Michael Kramer
In the News – Summer 2021
Download a full PDF copy here: Investing with Intent – Summer 2021
1: The Securities and Exchange Commission will look at climate, as well as other ESG-related issues, in determining misconduct or mislabeling of information at fund companies. The federal agency’s move is meant to address possible greenwashing. Investment News: SEC establishes task force on ESG issues
2: The oil giant Exxon lost a historic proxy battle after a small hedge fund won three board seats, with the goal of pushing the company to address climate change. Shareholder support for environmental and social resolutions is on the rise, with significant implications for companies around the world. Barron’s: Exxon’s Shareholder Revolt is a Warning for Boards Everywhere
3: A record-setting 81% of shareholders voted for DuPont chemical company to report on plastic pellets (also known as “nurdles”), chemical spills in the ocean, and general supply chain issues. As You Sow: DuPont Shareholders Approve Proposal Calling for Plastic Pellet Pollution Reporting
4: Natural Investments advisor, Malaika Maphalala, shares her journey as a woman of color leading change in the finance world. Green Money Journal: On the Road to Gender and Racial Equity in Finance
5: The gap between workers and CEOs widened during the pandemic as public companies granted top executives some of the richest pay packages ever. NYT: Meager Rewards for Workers, Exceptionally Rich Pay for C.E.O.s
Download a full copy of our 2020 Social Impact Report
A Year of Transformation by Michael Kramer
One from the Heart: A Tribute to Jack Brill by Hal Brill
2020 Sustainable & Responsible Impact
2020 Shareholder Advocacy Review
2020 Regenerative Investments
Putting Equity at the Center of our Organizational Culture by Carrie VanWinkle
Spotlight: Kachuwa Impact Fund by Brady Quirk-Garvan
Spotlight: New Summit Investments by Ryan Jones-Casey
Spotlight: RUNWAY by Nicole Middleton Holloway
Despite the massive economic and social disruption wrought by the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, governments and investors continued to buoy the capital markets. Conscientious investors saw the opportunity to channel their money into funds supporting families and small businesses in crisis. Last year, Natural Investments and our clients held $785M in responsibly managed assets, representing a 21% increase from the prior year.
We directed a significant proportion of our client investments (approximately $541M) toward responsibly managed mutual funds and separately managed accounts that use ESG integration strategies. Applying environmental, social, and governance (ESG) criteria helps us screen out firms with the worst corporate behavior, an approach that minimizes poor performance risk, as shown by numerous studies.
Natural Investments has regenerative investments with forty-nine companies and funds that create social and environmental benefits in response to some of our society’s most pressing challenges. Regenerative, in this context, refers to private equity and debt investment opportunities with an explicit mission for positive societal and environmental impact. As of 2020, Natural Investment clients devoted $110M to regenerative investing, a 19 percent increase from the prior year.
Natural Investments has joined with other investors representing $6.7 Trillion in assets under management to request that Amazon, Inc. respect workers’ rights to freedom of association and collective bargaining. We believe that worker representation plays an important role in companies.
In light of the reported anti-union practices at Amazon’s Bessemer facility in Alabama, we have joined this engagement to call upon the company to take concrete steps to implement its commitments to well-established human rights standards. We call on Amazon to immediately take steps to ensure the workers in Bessemer, Alabama are free to exercise their rights without interference. We also seek to kickstart dialogue on the company’s policies and approach to respecting labor rights in Amazon’s global operations and supply chain.
Photo credit: Getty Images
Jack Brill, a pioneer of the socially responsible investment (SRI) industry and co-founder of Natural Investments, passed away on January 21, 2021 at age 89. As one of the earliest SRI advisors in the ‘80s, Jack was a passionate advocate and known for his heartfulness and thought leadership. No one can attest to this better than his son and co-founder Hal Brill, who described their eventual realization of the power of socially responsible investing in Bringing Consciousness to Capitalism.
Statement on Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion
Transforming Systemic Inequity with Malaika Maphalala
ESG: A Paradigm for Resilience by Kirbie Crowe
SRI in Focus: The Vibrant Growth of Sustainable Investing by Michael Kramer
Market Report by Scott Secrest
In the News
Download a full PDF copy here: Investing with Intent – Winter 2021
1: SUSTAINABLE INVESTING ASSETS REACH $17. 1 TRILLION (US SIF Foundation)
Total US-domiciled assets under management using sustainable investing strategies grew
from $12.0 trillion at the start of 2018 to $17.1 trillion at the start of 2020––an increase of 42 percent––according to a biennial “Trends Report” by the Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment (US SIF). The top three issues for money managers and their institutional investor clients: climate
change/carbon emissions, sustainable natural resources/agriculture, and board governance.
2: THE BIDEN ERA COULD BE A BOON TO SUSTAINABLE INVESTING (Barron’s)
Biden has promised ambitious plans for combating climate change and other environmental prerogatives. Experts outline their top seven priorities to strengthen the industry’s ability to move capital into sustainable and socially responsible investments.