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
The change in US administration this year has generated a palpable sense of optimism among proponents of socially responsible investing and a sustainable and just economy. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and other federal agencies have appointed new leaders whose values align with our priorities. As a result, many of the 11th-hour rules and regulations put in place by the previous
administration in 2020 have either been paused, deemed unworthy of enforcement, or canceled.
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
The stock market moved generally higher during the second quarter, although we saw a fairly sharp diversion between the results of domestic large company stocks and smaller company stocks. For the quarter, large US stocks were up 8.5%, small US stocks were up 4.3%, and foreign stocks were up 5.2%. Bonds rebounded from first quarter losses, rising 1.8% for the second quarter.
The past year was defined by incomprehensible loss—and for many, the losses were personal. In May, my father-in-law Bernie passed away on his 94th birthday. In the end, he said he was ready to go, but we are mourning the loss of an attentive and engaged family man who was like a second father to me.
In the midst of our grieving, I was thankful that we had done some planning ahead of time for this moment. With this recent experience in mind, here are some steps you can take to prepare in advance for inevitable end-of-life transitions.
Fifty years is a long time to be active in any field. For Tim Smith, his five decade career has been defined by leadership in the socially responsible investment industry. Smith co-founded the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR), which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, in 1971 and served as Executive Director from 1976 to 2000. The Episcopal Church, one of its members, was the first organization to file a shareholder resolution with a corporation; the resolution to General Motors in 1971 addressed its investment in South Africa’s apartheid regime.
Federal monetary and fiscal policies buoyed the stock market during the pandemic, but they did not keep millions of American families from sliding below the poverty line. Yet daily news commentaries tracking quarterly earnings and shareholder profits have painted a rosy picture of the 2021 economic recovery. The latest plan by the Biden Administration to help economically struggling families is a step in the right direction, but the proposed measures are not enough to address the threats posed by the extreme wealth disparity in the US that began to take hold decades ago.
Natural Investments hosted a webinar called “Black Economic Self-Determination: To Move Forward We Must Understand The Past” with Ed Whitfield of Seed Commons. Reconstruction, the period that followed the Civil War, was a time when attempts were made to repair our country and our economy from slavery. Reconstruction failed, and set us up for what we are experiencing now–a political, social and economic system based in white supremacy and white nationalist violence. The increasing racial wealth divide exacerbated by COVID, killings of Black people, flagrant racism under Trump, modern day red lining and the January 6th insurrection are all ways that we see and feel the vestiges of failed Reconstruction.
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
JACK BRILL, the founder of Natural Investments and a pioneering thought leader of the socially responsible investment (SRI) industry, passed away recently at the age of 89. As one of the earliest SRI advisors in the 1980s, Jack was a passionate advocate known for his generous heart and tireless work to advance an approach to investing that was radical in his early career. He wrote one of the first books on the field, Investing from the Heart (Crown, 1992), which was the basis for the Heart Rating, the first and most rigorous rating system of SRI mutual funds. From 1993 to 2000, Jack helped SRI achieve mainstream recognition through his competitive investment exercise in a quarterly NY Times series.