In the News – Winter 2020

1: TAKE ACTION NOW TO PROTECT SHAREHOLDER RIGHTS

Although a recent Senate Banking Committee oversight hearing excoriated SEC Chairman Jay Clayton about the agency’s proposed rules to curtail the rights of shareholders and proxy advisory firms to advocate for corporate policy changes, the SEC is pressing forward. Any investor who believes shareholder rights should be protected can submit testimony through February 3 at https://www.sec.gov/cgi-bin/ruling-comments (reference File Number S7-23-19 for the Shareholder Proposal rule and File Number S7-22-19 for the Proxy Advisor rule). Visit investorrightsforum.com for more information on what’s at stake and why your testimony matters.

2: MSCI’S SRI FUND RATINGS

MSCI ESG Research is making public its previously subscription-only ratings of over 2,800 companies to boost clarity around its

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Investing with Your Values

It can be overwhelming to think about the ways that our values and money interact in our lives. Some people might know they want their money to create positive impact but feel unsure of where to start. Unless we bring intention and clarity to our money life, the money flowing through our lives may be fueling human suffering and environmental destruction.

What do we do with this knowledge? If we are able to work on our relationship with money, we can learn to engage with money so that it becomes not just neutral but positive. Money can even become a sacred tool for good if we use it purposefully to support a positive vision—for our own lives and in the bigger world.

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Returning to the South: Part 2

This article is the second of a two-part series by Tiffany Brown exploring the racial wealth divide across the Deep South.

The Legacy Museum in Montgomery, Alabama tells the story of stolen people, enslavement for free labor, the premature withdrawal of federal troops after Emancipation, and the lack of enforcement of the Civil Rights Act of 1866. Back then, Black Codes legalized the arrest and punishment of Black people who didn’t have proof of employment, which led to convict leasing. In 1898, 73 percent of Alabama state revenue came from convict leasing to the lumber mills and for road maintenance. A full 35 years after Emancipation, Blacks were still being forced into free labor throughout the South.

In the museum, I learned of several laws that sought to block access by Black people to economic and political systems—on top of school segregation (which didn’t end until 1954) and the prohibition on Black voting until 1965. There was Shelley v. Kraemer (1948),

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What’s Up on Wall Street: Fall 2019

The U.S. stock market dipped notably in early August and exhibited considerable volatility throughout the month. The market drop and subsequent instability, which stretched into September, were related to concerns about growth prospects for the U.S. and global economies. These concerns were validated by the Fed’s decision to cut interest rates in late July—the first rate cut since the Great Recession.

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Gold: Is there a Socially Responsible Option?

In a time of trade wars and political leaders on the fritz, investors may consider more conservative options to avoid market volatility. Real estate, bonds, and even gold might look appealing in times of turmoil. For socially responsible investors with even a cursory awareness of the gold mining industry, however, the question of whether gold holdings are compatible with human rights and environmental protection is urgent and important.

No Dirty Gold is an advocacy group of nonprofits and companies in industries that use gold. The group supports voluntary improvements in environmental and social practices by the industry.

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Battling Government’s Assault on Shareholder Rights

The Securities and Exchange Commission has announced its intention to make fundamental changes that would impede one of the most important tools to advance corporate social responsibility: the rights of shareholders to influence corporate policies and practices. In order to raise public awareness of what’s at stake, leading advocates for socially responsible investing have launched the Investor Rights Forum website. The forum provides current information and commentary on the importance of shareholder advocacy, case studies of successful shareholder engagements, details on the SEC’s proposals to undermine long-standing precedents, and efforts underway to prevent proposed rule changes from going into effect.

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Returning to the South: Part 1

This article is Part 1, by Tiffany Brown, in a new series exploring the racial wealth divide across the Deep South.

My business partner Kate Poole and I are clear that our core focus for Chordata Capital is to address the racial wealth divide. How could we not? Kate and I first crossed paths at Resource Generation, when I was the retreat director. Nearly every Resource Generation conference begins with some form of a timeline activity to explore the racist history of wealth accumulation in this country; during this activity, people walk the room locating points where their family accumulated wealth adjacent to a counterpoint of a racist law (like the Homestead Act).

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The Power of Protest

On a recent beautiful September weekend, I traveled to Hawaii Island (also known as the Big Island) to support the protests against the construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope. On one side of this issue, science institutions and the state government are moving to start construction on a giant, highly advanced telescope on the summit of Mauna Kea, a stunning 13,800-foot-tall volcano. On the other side, Native Hawaiians and their allies have blockaded the only access road to the summit of Mauna Kea to prevent construction of the facility on a site that many hold as a most sacred place.

Arriving at the site of the demonstration, I saw dozens, perhaps hundreds, of Hawaiian flags and heard the rhythmic sound of drumming and chanting in the Hawaiian language. The Mauna Kea protectors built a whole village at this remote highway intersection on a windswept volcanic plain. It included a medical tent,

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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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