Company Engagement: Amazon and Human Rights Standards

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

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Rest in Peace Jack Brill

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.

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STATEMENT ON JUSTICE, EQUITY, DIVERSITY, AND INCLUSION

Natural Investments is making a long-term commitment to the principles of Justice, Equity, Diversity, Inclusion (JEDI).

Justice: We actively seek to dismantle supremacy in all its forms, remove barriers to justice, and use our institutional privilege to address longstanding inequities. We work collaboratively to uphold human dignity and foster systemic change both within our firm and in society.

Equity: While we believe that people of all genders, races, and other identities can succeed, build wealth, and become leaders in our industry, not everyone comes to us with the same background. We seek to proactively level the playing field through sharing power, resources, and opportunities, and embracing our diverse stories and perspectives.

Diversity: We value our differences because collectively, they make us better. Our goal is to achieve meaningful diversity on our team across race, gender, class, and other factors. At the firm level, Natural Investments is currently only adding people of color as new advisors, and we encourage all our advisors to prioritize this in their hiring as well.

Inclusion: We accept people for who they are, without creating pressure to conform or assimilate into the norms of a dominant culture. We encourage everyone to express themselves authentically and respectfully. We commit to examining the impact of our words and actions, and to deepening our awareness of patterns of harm in order to facilitate accountability, understanding, behavioral change, and healing. We engage in training and learning opportunities that build our capacity to embody a welcoming, appreciative, celebratory, and culturally rich environment for all.

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Intentional Growth, Deeper Commitment

Natural Invest Group 2019

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.

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Prudence in Times of Uncertainty

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.

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Natural Investments, LLC Recognized as a “Best For The World” B Corp for Exceptional Impact on Customers

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.

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Natural Investments Tops $1 Billion

NI Venn Diagram

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.

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2000: NI Scores High in New York Times Fund Study

This article is from our archives as part of the 100th issue special, celebrating twenty-five years of quarterly newsletters.

For seven years, we took part in a New York Times study to find the best investment portfolio. As the only socially responsible money manager invited to participate, our founder Jack Brill was the “long shot,” but Natural Investments excelled in the competition. It was a very satisfying and public refute of the myth that SRI sacrifices financial returns.

In 1993 the New York Times asked five of the nation’s leading investment advisers to design model portfolios for a hypothetical retirement portfolio for an investor having $50,000 and twenty years to go until retirement. I was asked to participate and create a portfolio using only socially screened mutual funds.

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Tales of the Quarter Century

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.

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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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