Over the past 30 years, Natural Investments has grown slowly and organically over time by attracting advisors who are aligned with our mission. Even without specific growth targets, our firm has expanded, introducing more people, new ideas, and a wider range of business styles. As a collective of advisory practices, we share common investments, codes of ethics and conduct, policies and procedures, technologies, and values––yet there is a diversity of approaches in how, where, and with whom we work.
2019 Social Impact Report
This growth has created dynamism and prompted deep reflection on how we wish to move forward, particularly as we work to maintain a sense of family while embracing diversity and minimizing bureaucracy. Beginning a few years ago, for example, our desire to make a commitment to gender and racial diversity led us to add more women and people of color to the team.
A letter to our clients:
After over 10 years of an upwardly trending stock market, the moment for severe volatility has finally arrived. It’s always difficult to predict the conditions that will cause a mass sell-off of equities, but in our 35 years of financial advising we’ve seen a variety of precipitating causes for downturns, not all of which are based on economic fundamentals. We are all keenly aware of the cyclical nature of markets, and that growth is not a constant, and in general our concerns about the limits to natural resources raise broad concerns about financial expectations in the years to come. This is in part why we design our portfolios to have a mixture of fixed income and equity securities. Nevertheless, as we have seen several up and down cycles over the years, we know that these phases are not permanent, and that the prudent approach is often to ride out the storm.
Natural Investments, a Certified B Corporation, has been named a Best For The World honoree in recognition of their work to improve the lives of their customers through the use of their product or service. Ranking in the top 10 percent of all 3,000 B Corps for their positive impact on their customers, Natural Investments earned this honor because their financial services promote public benefit, is designed to generate positive social and ecological environments, in addition to uplifting under-served populations. The firm aims to set a gold standard for how business can be a force for good for people around the world.
Natural Investments, LLC today announced that its assets under management (AUM) now total over $1 billion. Founded in 1989, but rebranded under a revised name in 2007, Natural Investments’ advisors have for 30 years been one of the original firms to exclusively focus on sustainable, responsible, and impact (SRI) investing. Publishers of three definitive books on SRI, the firm has long been a leader in helping to transform finance, society, and the environment through the deployment of investment capital.
Vintage Natural Investment Services logo as part of the 100th issue special, celebrating twenty-five years of quarterly newsletters.
Before we were financial advisers, most of us were educators who felt called to drive positive change through teaching, writing, innovating, movement-building, and leading by example in sustainability and social justice. We have nurtured this commitment over three decades at Natural Investments by working with our investors to realize our shared vision of a more sustainable and equitable future. And we’ve seized the opportunity to share inspiring updates with you every quarter—vital, consistent reminders of what can be accomplished through the intentional stewardship of assets.
This issue of our newsletter is our 100th. Over the past twenty-five years, we have written hundreds of articles, as well as three books, chronicling the growth of our movement for sustainable, responsible, and impact focused investing. Socially responsible investing has moved from the margins into the mainstream, and we have celebrated the investment opportunities and advocacy victories that bring people into better relationships with each other and the natural world. We have played a meaningful role in a paradigm shift that the business community cannot ignore.
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?