Posts Tagged ‘socially responsible investing’

Shareholder Advocacy Review – Summer 2022

Government Advocacy

Our engagements with lawmakers this quarter focused on deforestation, climate change risk, and workers’ rights. We signed a collaborative investor letter facilitated by Domini Investments in support of the Fostering Overseas Rule of Law and Environmentally Sound Trade (FOREST) Act, which prohibits access to U.S. markets for commodities that originate from illegally deforested land. The bill criminalizes illegal deforestation, increases transparency in reporting companies’ international supply chains, and provides a federal government purchasing preference for deforestation-free products.

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Cryptocurrency for Socially Responsible Investors

Cryptocurrency has become quite the hot topic in the investment world over the last few years. What’s less known, however, are socially and environmentally conscious perspectives on this new technology. After many years of observation and reflection, Brady and James got together to weigh in with their thoughts.

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Goodbye ‘Mother of ESG Investing’ Hazel Henderson

BY RINALDO S. BRUTOCO, Founding President and CEO of the World Business Academy. Reprinted with permission by Ethical Markets Media, LLC

IN MAY, the world lost one of the truly great humans of the last century, my dear friend Hazel Henderson, founder of Ethical Markets, author of nine books, “mother” of the field of sustainable investing, and a 37-year fellow of the World Business Academy.

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2021 Social Impact Report

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

SPOTLIGHTS

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®

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Reasons for Hope

LIFE IS WHAT WE FOCUS ON. This has long been a meaningful mantra for me. My adoption of it stems from a time when my obsession with bad news caused me distress. Bad news is everywhere, and modern humans are more aware of the problems of the world than any other time in history. The state of the human condition and the planet can be known by pressing a few buttons on our devices. It is an overwhelming quantity of information, and we now face the additional responsibility of discerning its veracity.

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2021 Sustainable & Responsible Impact

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.

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Capitalism: Reformation or Revolution?

My conversation with Esther Park of Cienega Capital for my Smart & Soulful Money® podcast brought me more clarity and also opened my thinking to what’s possible. I hope it does something similar for you! A few of my takeaways from our conversation include a more grounded idea of change based on growing up through the cracks (spaces of possibility) and how powerful and transformative this type of change can be. Part of this is a “whole systems” perspective—the opposite of monoculture ways of thinking and implementing.

Also, there is so much power and opportunity stored away in charitable foundations and other structures like donor-advised funds. Opening the flow of these resources, in a way that is wise and inclusive, can mean critical transformation for addressing so many needs we have—from climate change to racial  equity to the many social needs of our day. We don’t have to be Rockefellers to be a part of creating (and incubating!) systemic changes.

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In the News – Summer 2021

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

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Wisdom from SRI Veteran Tim Smith

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.

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Turning Back the Tide of Inequity

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.

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