In the News: Fall 2020

1: WASHINGTON (PRO FOOTBALL TEAM) MOVES TOWARD CHANGING CONTROVERSIAL TEAM NAME

After public political protest and financial pressure by major corporate backers such as FedEx, Nike, and Pepsi, in July the owner of the Washington, D.C., professional football team agreed to change the team’s derogatory name. The move was celebrated by SRI investors, who have long advocated in support of Indigenous peoples’ fight for years to remove Native references in mascots and logos. Washington Post

2: INVESTING IN SOCIAL GOOD IS PROFITABLE

Both public and private impact investments have been seeing record-level inflows of capital from investors, in the billions of dollars. Part of the motivation may be increasing frustration with how traditional finance exacerbates global crises (like deforestation and pandemics) as well as understanding that impact investments can offer competitive returns. New York Times

3: SHAREHOLDERS FEEL MUTED AS COMPANIES SWITCH TO VIRTUAL ANNUAL MEETINGS

A comparative study of annual, in person shareholder meetings in 2019 and virtual meetings in 2020 showed shorter meeting lengths and less time spent discussing shareholder concerns. Institutional coalitions and trade groups sent letters of concern to the SEC. Wall Street Journal

4: TRUMP PLAN TO BLOCK GREEN 401(K) S STIRS FUND INDUSTRY FURY

The Department of Labor released guidance on a new rule that would not allow pension funds, which are governed by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) of 1974, to use any non-financial criteria in portfolio decision-making. During a 30-day public comment period, 8,737 comments were submitted, with an overwhelming 94% of them opposed to the proposal. Bloomberg News

5: SUSTAINABLE INVESTING: AN INTRODUCTORY COURSE FOR INDIVIDUAL INVESTORS

The Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment is offering a free, online course for individual investors who want to learn the basics of sustainable investing. The goal is to make it easier for people to align their investments with their social and environmental priorities. US SIF