Download a full copy of our 2021 Social Impact Report
Reasons for Hope by Michael Kramer
2021 Sustainable & Responsible Impact
2021 Regenerative Investments
2021 Shareholder Advocacy Review – The Winds at Our Back by Michael Kramer
Recompose Life – A Truly Regenerative Investment by Malaika Maphalala
Clean Energy Credit Union – An Interview with CEO Terri Mickelsen by Brady Quirk-Garvan
Envest Microfinance Cooperative by Amy Pender, CFP®
Sunwealth & Greenbacker – Meeting the Climate Challenge by James Frazier
Seed Commons – Putting Non-Extractive Finance Into Practice by Nicole Middleton Holloway, CFP®
Our overarching goal at Natural Investments is protecting the planet and developing innovative solutions to work in harmony with mother nature and human society. It includes building a culture that works for everyone by supporting women, Indigenous Peoples, People of Color and other underserved communities. As of 2021, Natural Investments has directed $188 million into 66 private entities supporting the public good for people and planet in a regenerative economy. More than 40% are companies led by women, while a quarter are BIPOC-led.
Natural Investments remained active in advocacy efforts in the past year to bring about needed improvements to the economic system while fostering equity and justice for women and people of color. We continued to engage major corporations on their policies and practices, funneled more capital to traditionally marginalized populations and educated policymakers about appropriate oversight of the finance industry.
But having a supportive administration in Washington, D.C., which embraced the priorities socially and environmentally responsible investors value, pushed the needle forward significantly.
A Truly Regenerative Investment
Have you ever thought about how you want your body to be handled when you die? Recompose Life is a relatively new company determined to disrupt the multi-billion dollar death industry by offering a new, ecological alternative to the conventional choices of burial and cremation. It’s an option that supports people in making the ultimate regenerative investment: allowing their bodies to participate in the essential, natural cycle of life and death, wherein through death, their personal organic matter can directly benefit the life and health of other organisms.
According to Project Drawdown, a nonprofit that researches solutions to climate change, renewable energy ranks as one of the most important solutions in the race to ensure a safe and healthy climate for ourselves and future generations. Solar panels and wind turbines are highly visible and enduring symbols of our potential and progress in the increasingly urgent mission to shift to clean energy. Quite simply, we need to build a lot more of them, and the sooner the better. Fortunately, as investors, we can help make this happen—and earn a fair return in the process.
Interest in sustainable, responsible, impactful (SRI) investments continues to rise in the U.S., and globally, according to the Global Sustainable Investment Alliance. The expansion of SRI consciousness has led Natural Investments to grow as well with $1.11 billion of responsibly managed assets now, a 41% increase from the previous year. The firm directs our clients’ assets toward managers that incorporate environmental, social, or governance factors (ESG) into investment decision-making. The purpose is to avoid investments that are involved in resource-depleting activities that contribute to ecosystem harm or wealth inequities. At the same time, advisors at Natural Investments seek opportunities in enterprises that promote solutions to societal problems and support communities.
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
Crisis and opportunity have an interesting partnership. They don’t always go together, but when they do, they can catalyze powerful change in individuals, countries, and human civilization. Many forces converged in 2020 to create such a dynamic—a global pandemic, heightened attention to racism, extreme weather events and accompanying natural disasters, the disruption of democratic norms by a white supremacist authoritarian president, the proliferation of misinformation and conspiracy theories, and, finally, a historic election.
The year 2020 demanded resilience, and while we surely felt tested on many levels and tried to hold onto our center, many of us found ourselves reflecting on the meaning of life and then acting to change our own lives and work harder to build a just, equitable, and sustainable society.
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 plays a proactive role within our industry by facilitating positive economic, social, and environmental change. One of the ways we push for the transformation we want to see is through shareholder engagement with companies, as well as advocacy with elected officials and federal agency commissioners on matters of public policy.