Category: February 2013 – New Articles

Mind Over Money

The awareness of our thoughts about money can ease tension and allow us to be more creative financially.
By Kristi Nelson

 

Money is a loaded subject. No matter where we currently sit on the continuum of “enough,” our relationship to money is often burdensome. And for those of us committed to living mindfully, it is no less so.

Mindfulness helps us cultivate qualities of attention so that we can more fully greet and be available for what unfolds in our lives. And yet, when we come face to face with pivotal financial moments—a depleted checkbook, an investment decision, asking for a loan, coveting something we cannot afford, or riding the stock market rollercoaster—mindful attitudes we embody so seamlessly in other moments can disappear. At these times, we can be prone to unconscious emotions and behaviors that lead to suffering.

Fortunately, to the same degree that money is an area of our lives fraught with challenges or neglect, it’s also a pathway that can lead us to greater insight, agency, and ease. In the 25 years I have guided organizations and individuals toward a more fulfilling and effective relationship to money, I have learned that despite the vast differences between us, we have much in common in terms of why we struggle with money, and how we can experience greater peace about it.

Here is a three-part practice you can use to improve your relationship with money.

Look Inside

Each of us has a unique money story we carry around and express to the world in countless ways. These stories—our money baggage—can become the unexamined default settings that control our financial lives. Becoming mindful about money means, first, deconstructing the sources of the stories we tell ourselves. We cannot transcend what we cannot see. Consider the role of these influences:

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Your “Inheritance”

We are products of our ancestors and immediate families, as well as our cultural and class backgrounds. Messages, maxims, and myths about money are overtly and subtly conveyed to us. Are there stories and messages you heard repeatedly growing up? What were you told is “true” about money? How much was “enough” in your family? What attitudes about money or class did you inherit? What were you taught about people from other classes?  How might you still be paying allegiance to this history?

Your Driven Self

We all have early beliefs about money that we unwittingly adopted. These beliefs can drive our behavior, filtering what we are able to see. A scarcity mentality keeps us from noticing sufficiency in our lives. Feelings of insatiability make us vulnerable to intoxicating dreams and promises of abundance. Deprivation can result in closeted forms of gluttony. How have desire and aversion played out in your relationship with money? Have you mistaken some of your drivers as your identity?

Your Hidden Self

What are you hiding in relation to money? What judgment do you fear? Wealthy people often hide their riches, just as those who struggle with money hide their debt. When we hide what is true, we become “class impostors.” How, in both small and large ways, might you misrepresent the truth about money in your life? How does this keep you from having authentic relationships?

Our money stories are powerful; they can either keep us arrested in illusion or direct us to insight. Let these unconscious places percolate up to your awareness. Once you understand the factors influencing you, you can begin to act with greater discernment. Wonder gently. We all sometimes mistake our story for who we are. Stories are meant to be convincing.

Look Outside

Our internal conditions create vulnerabilities that Western societies have set themselves up to “solve.” It’s hard not to be susceptible to the myriad financial remedies and prescriptions that bombard us from the outside. But these “solutions” can narrowly define us and reinforce the status quo rather than encourage us to question the assumptions behind them.

Your Plans

Traditional money mavens counsel us to set ambitious goals, create elaborate budgets, and develop long-term financial plans. Their guidance is heavily weighted toward trading away the present moment to prepare for—and protect against—an unknown future, and is based in assumptions: We mustall want to be wealthy, retire early, and have lots of luxuries…with no taxes. To be mature means having a long list of goals focused on “more.” Ends trump means. Security is measured as purely financial. Even some of the most “enlightened” advice owes its roots to these assumptions.

Your Spending

In our culture, few habits are as deeply ingrained as the desire to acquire, and few delights rival having scored a bargain, indulged successfully, or invested wisely. Our identities and pleasures become inextricably linked with where we put our money and what this says about us. We develop tastes that need to be expressed and fulfilled, and we reveal our unique fingerprint to the world through the choices we make, including our investments. Even yoga, meditation, and simplicity have been commercialized. We need to stay very mindful; consumerism is a favored domain of mindlessness.

Your Earning

We are not what we earn. Just because we can charge $100 per hour doesn’t mean we should, and just because it might be difficult for us to charge $100 an hour doesn’t mean we shouldn’t. If asked by a prospective employer for our required salary range, where do we place the bottom? Doesn’t a range imply a ceiling? Do you have a ceiling of “enough?” Money has become falsely bound up with success, worth, and entitlement. From this entangled place, we can rarely think clearly about what we truly need and value.

It takes very focused work to untangle the places where our thinking and behavior related to money have become convoluted. We may know, intellectually, that security is not “material,” that we are not what we own, and that our lives are not equal to what we earn. But this conditioning goes deep and is reinforced almost everywhere. We are under the weight of tremendous social pressures about money, and getting free requires an equally tremendous commitment.

Look at the Whole Picture

Time, energy, and love are forms of currency, as is money. What we do with these precious resources tells the hard truth about who we are and what matters to us. We claim and re-claim ourselves in the allocation of our currencies. Our clear intentions can form a touchstone for our financial freedom, just as the breath moving in and out of our bodies can be the touchstone for mindfulness practice.

Your Values

Much as our bodies align around the spine, our financial lives need to align with the template of our values. We must consistently explore, define, and check our values.

What do you truly stand for? What principles and beliefs do you want to express with your life? What commitments do you want to advance? How much is yourenough point? What difference do you want to make? What is the real cost of more/less than enough to your life, relationships, and the world?

Articulating our core values is not an idle exercise. It is powerful and humbling, and plants us on the cushion of self-responsibility and accountability. The work of our values is to be alive—how we do and don’t bring our values to life is our work.

Your Money

Choose to look very clearly at how money comes into your life and where it goes. The raw truth of our money trail tells an important story. Details matter. Hold every allocation against your values template and examine the degree to which it contradicts or advances what matters to you. How do your values show up in your income? How don’t they? Do you hold onto money out of fear? Do you give away more than you can truly afford? Do you have more than you need? Less than you need? Notice. Honestly.

Ultimately, the antidote to being susceptible to the pull of our internal stories and the lure of society’s money messages may rest in unequivocally knowing what we stand for, and aspiring to embody that in every single financial decision we make. As Cheri Huber, author of Transform Your Life: A Year of Awareness Practice, says, “How you do anything is how you do everything.” Everything is a chance at freedom.

Your Choice

Prominently display some of your values: Write them on your checkbook, computer screen, wallet, and credit cards. Remind yourself what you stand for. Try bringing balance to your checkbook every month. Be generous—give something meaningful away. Start a sufficiency conversation every day. Express gratitude for all the ways you are rich. Be transparent with a friend. Nourish community. Express compassion by making a thoughtful donation. What else can you do to start a mindful money movement in your life?

If we commit to a mindful relationship to money as a portal to learning, we can befriend what we have been ignoring, release myths we’ve been harboring, and live more fully the life we want—and the world needs. Allowing money to be front and center in our attention, we can take a deep breath each time we face a pivotal financial moment, and explore new possibilities for having money illustrate what we truly want to embody in our lives.

 

Article by Kristi Nelson is a trainer and consultant with the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society and The Soul of Money Institute. She is currently writing a workbook on values-aligned fundraising.

Article Source: www.Mindful.org

Fossil Fuels and Sustainable Investing

Speech by Joe Keefe, CEO & President of Pax World Funds

 

Article Introduction: Recently, Pax World President and CEO Joe Keefe participated in a forum at the University of New Hampshire organized by a student group that is asking the university to divest its endowment from fossil fuel companies. Keefe outlined various approaches to the role of fossil fuels in a sustainable investment portfolio and provided an overview of Pax World’s hybrid approach to energy investments that incorporates a range of sustainability strategies. He also advocated that the student movement should focus not only on lobbying for total divestment, but also on engaging colleges and universities to take meaningful steps and embrace bridge strategies that at least begin to green their portfolios in a measurable way.

Below is a transcript of Keefe’s remarks from the January 24, 2013 forum as part of the Student Environmental Action Coalition Campaign to Divest UNH’s Endowment from Fossil Fuel Companies at the University of New Hampshire

Fossil Fuels and Sustainable Investing
Speech by Joe Keefe, CEO & President of Pax World Funds

The growing student movement focusing on divestment from fossil fuels, along with the work of Bill McKibben and 350.org more broadly, deserve encouragement and support – for making the debate about climate change more public, more pointed, more urgent, and hitting closer to home.

In the sustainable investment community, it has helped re-kindle an important conversation about the role of fossil fuels in a sustainable investment portfolio. While there is some disagreement between those advocating total divestment and those advocating other approaches, the result of this dialogue and debate, I believe, will bring more attention to this critical issue of how investments impact climate change – just as the tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut has focused attention on investments in gun manufacturers.

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My own view is that we need to deploy a host of strategies – as citizens, consumers and investors – to address the developing catastrophe of climate change, and we must do so with a sense of urgency and resolve. Policy makers are simply not listening.  The fossil fuel industry is not listening.  Large institutional investors, foundations and endowments generally are not listening.  So, we need strategies to break through.

As investors, there are essentially three strategies or approaches one can take to investing in fossil fuels, two of which incorporate climate and sustainability considerations into the investment process while one doesn’t at all:

Approach A: Invest in fossil fuels without any regard whatsoever to climate change or other sustainability issues.

Approach B: Full divestment from fossil fuels.

Approach C: Partial Divestment from fossil fuels coupled with a best-of-class/engagement approach to investing in energy companies, favoring those with stronger commitments to reducing carbon emissions and investing in renewable energy while also directly engaging corporate leaders through shareholder activism strategies.

Approach A is unsustainable and irresponsible in that it simply continues the status quo and fails to recognize the need for investors and capital markets to play a role in reducing carbon emissions and ameliorating climate change.  It effectively aligns investments with those who deny the science on climate change or actively resist efforts to address it. By doing nothing, this investment approach helps guarantee that nothing will be done. Unfortunately, most mutual funds, pension funds, foundations, endowments and other institutional investors, as well as individual investors, follow approach A, meaning that they – or at least their investments – are part of the problem rather than part of the solution.

Approach B has been embraced by a minority of investors in the sustainable investment community but is now being urged as an alternative strategy by 350.org and the growing student divestment movement around the country.

Approach C is the approach taken to date by the majority of investors within the sustainable investment industry, where many regard a complete divestment from fossil fuels as impractical but a best-of-class approach– screening out the worst polluters while investing in the “better” energy companies that have made larger commitments to renewables and reduced emissions – coupled with shareholder engagement and public policy activism, is instead embraced as a bridge strategy that encourages investment in renewable energy and the transition to a sustainable energy economy.

Under Approach C, investor engagement through dialogues with companies, shareholder resolutions and other strategies typically encourages companies to reduce carbon emissions as well as other forms of pollution, optimize use of natural resources, including food and water, actively disclose their carbon and environmental footprints, and embrace other environmental policies and programs.

At Pax World, we employ a combination of approaches B and C. While we have historically taken a partial divestment/best-of-class/engagement approach (Approach C) for most of our funds, we also offer one fund that completely divests from or avoids investing in fossil fuels (Approach B). (By the way, we don’t invest in gun manufacturers either.)

Why do we take a hybrid approach to investing in energy companies and divesting from fossil fuels?

With respect to Approach B (complete divestment), many in the sustainable investment community have concerns about pursuing it as an exclusive strategy. First, we are not convinced that these large multi-national companies miss, or perhaps even notice, the small sliver of capital that is withdrawn. Indeed, when divestment occurs the shares are simply sold on the open market and someone else purchases them. While it’s possible that the price could be affected if large numbers of shareholders sell their shares, these companies are so large, and the number of shares that would need to be sold is so great, that is very unlikely that stock price will be affected at all.

(Parenthetically, my own view is that, if we really want to affect stock price and reduce the demand for fossil fuel company shares, a much better option would be a carbon tax – but that’s another conversation. I think it’s also critical that we demand that fossil fuel companies disclose their lobbying and political contributions so we know what they are doing with their shareholders’ money, whether they are misusing shareholder money to resist efforts to combat climate change, which politicians they are attempting to influence, etc. – but that’s probably another conversation as well.)

That said, I do believe a divestment strategy, if widely embraced, could have the effect of shaming companies, putting pressure on them to be more responsive, to embrace sustainability strategies, and to change. So, I think divestment has a definite place within the range of strategies that we need to deploy in order to marshal investment capital to be part of the solution rather than part of the problem.

Another concern about divestment as an exclusive strategy is that when you sell your shares you lose your seat at the table, your voice, your entitlement to vote your proxies at the Company’s annual meeting, your ability to support shareholder resolutions, including resolutions asking companies to disclose or reduce their carbon emissions, and so forth. The role of activist investors in prompting change should not be completely discounted.

For example, over the past year shareholder resolutions have been filed with companies such as Chevron, Exxon Mobil and Conoco Phillips asking these companies to review their exposure to climate change risk and to adopt quantitative goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.  Resolutions have been filed with financial services companies such as JP Morgan Chase and PNC Bank asking them to assess the costs and adopt programs to address the carbon emissions related to their lending, investment and finance portfolios.  In addition to these, shareholder resolutions have been filed calling on companies in the natural gas industry to address fugitive methane emissions, and companies in other sectors to address water use, electronics recycling and other critical environmental issues.  And these are on top of numerous shareholder resolutions asking companies to issue sustainability reports disclosing their environmental, social and governance practices.

This is important work, but to file such resolutions, and generally to engage companies in these types of dialogues, you have to be a shareholder. Thus, my own view is that a complete divestment approach, while a necessary component to a broader strategy, is insufficient as an exclusive strategy, and needs to be supplemented with other approaches, and part of a more diversified, multi-pronged investment approach to addressing climate change.

Thus, in addition to lobbying for total divestment, it seems to me the student movement should be engaging colleges and universities to take positive steps and embrace bridge strategies that at least begin to green their portfolios in a measurable way. For example, if colleges and universities like UNH are going to study or consider their policy on fossil fuels, there is no reason why they cannot take interim steps to green their portfolio by investing a meaningful allocation of assets in fossil-free funds embracing Approach B as well as partial divestment/best-of-class investment strategies under Approach C. There are plenty of asset managers today who employ sustainable investment strategies, and a range of investment options for UNH or any other college or university that is serious about greening its portfolio.

Colleges and universities that profess to be committed to sustainability and a clean energy future quite simply have to take these steps. Otherwise, their investments are completely misaligned with their professed values.

In this respect, the canard that an endowment’s fiduciary duty means that its only obligation is to maximize return, regardless of the consequences or externalities, is utter nonsense. If a university’s lawyers or consultants are telling them that, I would suggest they get a second opinion. There is now a substantial body of research underscoring that companies with better environmental, social and governance (ESG) performance also tend to enjoy better financial performance:

• A joint study by Harvard University and London Business School found that, over an 18-year period ending December 2010, $1.00 invested in a value-weighted portfolio of “high sustainability” companies that had adopted certain environmental and social policies grew to $22.60 whereas a similar portfolio of “low sustainability” companies grew to only $14.50.

• A June 2012 report by DB Climate Change Advisors, Deutsch Bank “found overwhelming academic evidence within all (100%) of the studies showing that firms with higher ratings for CSR and ESG factors have a lower …cost of capital in terms of debt (loans and bonds) and equity.” Looking at actual fund returns in the SI space, “we found no academic studies that found underperformance at either the security or fund level.”

• A 2011 white paper, “Alpha from Sustainability, ”SAM Research, Robeco Quantitative Strategies concluded: “The results reveal a positive relationship between sustainability and financial performance, as measured by stock returns, demonstrating the superior alpha potential of the sustainability leaders….Value is created both by picking sustainability leaders and avoiding sustainability laggards…. Investing in sustainability leaders ultimately contributes to superior long-term investment results with improved risk-return profiles.”

• A July 2011 report by RCM, a global investment advisory firm and subsidiary of Allianz Global Investors, found: “The evidence indicates that investors’ portfolios are not negatively impacted by the introduction of ESG criteria into the stock selection process. But the results go further than that, and show there is a probability of outperformance over the longer term. Investors could have added 1.6 per cent a year over just less than five years to their investment returns by allocating to portfolios that invest in companies with above-average ESG ratings.”

I could go on, but you get the picture.  There is now a well-established body of research underscoring the financial materiality of ESG factors, that is to say, the linkages between ESG performance, on the one hand, and financial performance on the other. Given this, one can only conclude that, when it comes to these issues, including the risks and opportunities associated with climate change, the “maximize return” crowd has it precisely wrong: it is ignoring these issues, rather than integrating them, which most likely constitutes a breach of fiduciary duty.

The narrow, misguided “maximize returns” approach to fiduciary duty engages in the sort of willful blindness that is necessary when one’s investments focus only on the short term, as if the future didn’t matter.   As long as returns on fossil fuel stocks remain high (subsidized by the lack of a price on carbon pollution), they will remain highly attractive to asset managers seeking to maximize short-term gains. But these fiduciaries have a duty to meet the needs of their investors, students and future beneficiaries over the long term as well. They need to find a balance between an optimal risk/return trade-off in the short term and an optimal risk/return profile for the long term. Reducing investments in fossil fuel companies could help achieve this balance, protecting investors from climate risk in their portfolios over the long term while sending a clear signal to energy companies that they need to change.

Thus, integrating sustainability concerns into a university’s investment portfolio is completely consistent with a fiduciary’s duty to deliver optimal returns over the long term. It is a complete no-brainer that one should have proper regard for long-term interests and liabilities like climate change. Any responsible fiduciary needs to be thinking about and acting on these issues.

Colleges and universities should be endeavoring to reduce their fossil fuel dependency in as many ways as possible: setting targets for reducing carbon emissions, offsetting emissions, boosting energy efficiency, purchasing renewable power, embracing resource optimization in a broader sense, from electricity to water use, and greening their investment portfolios.

Every college and university, every foundation, every endowment, every institution of whatever kind that professes a commitment to sustainability, that claims to care about climate change, needs to assure that its investments are in alignment with those stated concerns. To accept the science on global warming, and to be committed to doing something about it, but to invest one’s resources in a way that wholly ignores that imperative, is the mother of all inconsistencies.

It is time for every college, every university, every philanthropic foundation, every institution, and every individual – all of us – to take, at the very least, some modest, measurable steps to green our investment portfolios, to be part of the solution rather than part of the problem.  If your investment consultant or advisor, if your attorneys or investment committees, are telling you that you cannot do that, then they are simply wrong.

Moreover, if this university, or any university, or any of us as individuals, thinks that the answer is waiting for Washington to act, or waiting for the next international treaty or protocol, or otherwise passing the buck to someone else, thinking someone else is going to solve this problem for us, rather than looking at our own energy use, our own consumption choices, and taking responsibility for the way we invest our own money, then again, we are wrong.  And we need to be right.

So, what you are asking of the University, you should also ask of yourselves.  Sustainable investing needs to be a core component of any comprehensive strategy to address climate change. It needs to be a core component of the way we live our lives.

By raising this critically important issue in connection with the University’s endowment, you are taking a step in that direction. I would urge you to take the next step, and the next, and continue down this road, so that investors far and wide – in their mutual funds, in their IRAs and 401K and 403B retirement accounts, in their pension funds, in their university endowments – embrace sustainability as both a moral imperative and a financial imperative, so that our investments are no longer in conflict with, but are finally in alignment with our values.

For more information on Pax World and its mutual funds, etc go to- www.paxworld.com

Perspectives on Progress – The Impact Investor Survey

From J.P. Morgan and the Global Impact Investing Network

 
Survey Shows Market Growth in Impact Investments and Satisfaction Among Investors

J.P. Morgan and the Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN) recently released in early January 2013 Perspectives on Progress, a report that reveals the experiences, expectations, and perceptions of 99 impact investors in 2012, as well as their plans for 2013. The survey indicates a growing market, with respondents planning to commit USD 9 billion to impact investing in 2013, up from a total commitment of USD 8 billion in 2012.

Link to Reportwww.thegiin.org/cgi-bin/iowa/resources/research/489.html

Additionally, the vast majority of surveyed investors report that their impact investment portfolio performance is meeting or exceeding social, environmental, and financial expectations, which is critical to impact investments as impact investors seek measurable social and environmental impact alongside financial returns. Two-thirds of respondents are principally pursuing market-rate financial returns. Investors surveyed for the report include fund managers, development finance institutions, foundations, diversified financial institutions, and other investors with at least USD 10 million committed to impact investment.

“At J.P. Morgan Social Finance, we are especially encouraged by the findings in this survey – that, despite the market’s early stage, investors’ portfolios are meeting financial expectations in addition to social and environmental expectations,” said Yasemin Saltuk, Director of Research for J.P. Morgan Social Finance and co-author of the report. “The findings from this report are insightful and we are optimistic for the continued growth in investments that have a positive social and environmental impact.

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“Although investors have been making socially and environmentally motivated investments for quite some time, collaboration to develop a coherent and supportive market has increased significantly in the last five years,” said Amit Bouri, Managing Director at the GIIN and co-author of the report. “In the results of this survey, we see positive indication of a market growing in both size and sophistication, which we hope will encourage more activity and attract new investors to the impact investing field.”

Though the impact investing market is relatively new, a majority of respondents report that some or many investments passed their initial screens in nearly all regions of the world, with U.S. & Canada, South Asia, and Latin America & the Caribbean providing the most robust pipelines to surveyed investors. However, respondents believe the market is still challenged by a lack of appropriate capital across the risk/return spectrum and a shortage of high-quality investment opportunities. Encouragingly, surveyed investors indicate that progress was made in these areas and across other indicators of market growth in 2012.

Respondents also highlight the importance of impact measurement for both raising capital and general industry development. Notably, 96 percent of respondents measure their social and/or environmental impact, with most utilizing third-party standards, including the Impact Reporting and Investment Standards (IRIS) metrics, offered as a free public good by the GIIN.

Perspectives on Progress is the third in a series of reports, started in 2010, that present perceptions of the impact investment market as well as portfolio performance from a sample of impact investors. Impact investments are investments that are made into companies, organizations, and funds with the intention to generate measurable social and environmental impact alongside a financial return. They can be made in both emerging and developed markets, and target a range of returns from below market to market rate, depending upon the circumstances.

About J.P. Morgan’s Corporate & Investment Bank:

J.P. Morgan’s Corporate & Investment Bank is a global leader across banking, markets and investor services. The world’s most important corporations, governments and institutions entrust us with their business in more than 100 countries. With $18 trillion of assets under custody and $393 billion in deposits, the Corporate & Investment Bank provides strategic advice, raises capital, manages risk and extends liquidity in markets around the world. Further information about J.P. Morgan is available at www.jpmorgan.com

About the Global Impact Investing Network:

The Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN) is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to increasing the scale and effectiveness of impact investing. The GIIN builds critical infrastructure and supports activities, education, and research that help accelerate the development of a coherent impact investing industry. For more information, please visit www.thegiin.org

Press Contacts:

Melody Meyer (GIIN) at (646) 837-7174 or mmeyer@thegiin.org

Jennifer Kim (J.P. Morgan) at (212) 622-7068 or jennifer.h.kim@jpmchase.com

Calvert Advocacy Highlights for 2012

 

Investors have a right and a responsibility to engage with companies on environmental, social and governance (ESG)-related issues where shareholder value is at stake and improved performance is within reach. Calvert uses shareholder advocacy and public policy initiatives to encourage positive change in companies in virtually every industry, both to establish certain commitments and to encourage concrete progress on issues of demonstrated or potential material importance to our funds and shareholders. In 2012 Calvert used the full combination of our engagement and shareholder advocacy tools, emphasizing direct company and multi-stakeholder dialogues alongside proxy voting and shareholder resolutions.

Rio+20: Missed Opportunities and Signs of Progress

Twenty years ago, the first Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, was a watershed event. It created climate and biodiversity conventions and set the stage for formal and informal frameworks and platforms to address global environmental degradation, climate change and poverty. But at last June’s “Rio+20 Summit” it was the side events—especially the external meetings led by the private sector and civil society—that achieved the most compelling and concrete commitments as governments failed to reach consensus on further binding commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Calvert CEO Barbara Krumsiek was there and spoke at several events bringing Calvert’s perspective on sustainable investment to this global gathering. During a discussion on Gender Equality and Sustainability, Calvert shared its experience related to business and women primarily through the Calvert Women’s Principles®. On a separate panel Calvert made the case for the green economy, describing how sustainability can drive a business model and represent an investment opportunity.

Climate Disruption Underlines the Urgency of Adaptation and Mitigation

Natural catastrophes, primarily extreme weather, caused more than more than $148 billion in economic losses in 2011, setting a new record. The massive disruptions predicted by climate change scientists continued last year; according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), 2012 was the warmest year on record for the contiguous United States, wildfires raged through western states, extreme drought hammered crops across much of the country, and the super-storm Sandy caused tragic human losses and billions of dollars of damage to communities in New Jersey and New York.  Companies and investors that do not adapt to the changing climate do so at their peril, even as the political prospects for achieving regulation of greenhouse gas emissions all but disappeared in 2012.

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Calvert nonetheless maintained its leadership role, calling for urgent action as it has done for more than a decade. In 2012, in order to help make the financial implications for investors and companies clear and to encourage efforts to adapt to climate change Calvert co-released two reports with NGO and corporate partners. “Physical Risks from Climate Change: A guide for companies and investors on disclosure and management of climate impacts ” focuses on companies in the agriculture, food and beverage, apparel, electric power, insurance, mining, oil and gas, and tourism sectors — all of which are considered to be highly vulnerable to climate impacts.  Calvert and other leading companies from the Partnership for Resilience and Environmental Preparedness (PREP) released a first-of-its-kind guide for businesses to assess and prepare for the risks and opportunities posed by climate change, entitled, “Value Chain Climate Resilience: A guide to managing climate impacts in companies and communities.”

As Climate Costs Mount, Supporting the Transition to Cleaner Energy

While critical, Calvert believes that climate change adaptation efforts will only succeed if we also reduce the pollution that causes climate change. Even though there was no real progress on broad policy measures aimed at climate change in the United States or in international negotiations, investors continued to make the case that action is urgently needed. Calvert played a leading role within the Investor Network on Climate Risk (INCR) on major public policy victories including the extension of important incentives for renewable energy production included as part of the “Fiscal Cliff” deal, stronger fuel economy standards for automobiles which the Obama Administration established in August and protection of Clean Air Act Rules that will reduce harmful pollutants produced by electric power plants. These rules and incentives send an important signal to market participants.  In 2013, Calvert will continue to support policy that accounts for the true cost of greenhouse gas pollution, which is a crucial part of the transition to a lower carbon economy and a more secure and independent energy supply.

Climate, Scarcity and Growing Demand Put Spotlight on Water

As drought plagued half the continental United States and the United Nations reported that more than one billion people do not have access to clean drinking water, the urgency of addressing the global water challenge was clear in 2012. Calvert called upon companies exposed to water risk in sectors such as apparel (Hanesbrands), food manufacturers (Sysco), beverage companies (Coca Cola and Pepsi Co), and electric utilities (Duke Energy) to develop and disclose water management systems and to reduce their use of this limited resource. Water scarcity along with inadequate infrastructure is driving innovation and investment opportunities, which can create shareholder value while helping to solve the global water crisis. Through dialogue with at risk companies, shareholder resolutions, participation in global standard setting initiatives and presentations at conferences Calvert focused sharply on these risks and opportunities and helped move companies toward improved management of this challenging set of issues.

Demonstrating Shared Responsibility for Safer, Healthier Food

Calvert participated in a new multilateral stakeholder initiative on ethically-produced food in the U.S. and serves on the Steering Committee of the EquiTABLE Food Initiative, a certification program designed to improve farmworker welfare, environmental performance and product safety of domestically grown fruits and vegetable crops.  The Steering Committee includes Oxfam America, the United Farm Workers, Costco, Bon Appétit Management Co, A&W Growers, and environmental and consumer safety NGOs.  The program has completed pilot testing of draft standards at two California farms and is hiring trainers to ramp up the project.  Its aims include decreasing pesticide use and supporting and improving farmworker welfare and the safety of domestically grown fruits and vegetables.

Fighting Corruption and Disclosing Material Information to Investors

In 2012, Calvert helped finalize a groundbreaking law that promotes good governance and investment stability in the oil, gas and mining sectors. On August 22, the SEC issued its final rules for Section 1504 of the Dodd-Frank, which requires oil, gas and mining companies to disclose the payments they make to the governments where they operate. Since 2008, Calvert has pushed for this critical reform so that investors have the information necessary to understand the risks oil, gas and mining companies face when they operate in unstable countries. The disclosures should also help the citizens of these countries fight corruption and claim a greater share of the revenue generated by resource extraction. Calvert’s comments to the SEC were cited and quoted extensively in notes to the rules, especially with respect to the materiality of the required disclosures. Calvert Senior Sustainability Analyst Paul Bugala was named to the United States Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) Advisory Committee by Interior Department Secretary Ken Salazar on December 21, reflecting Calvert’s leadership on this issue.

Curtailing Conflict Minerals to Help End Civil War in the Congo

Calvert continued to be a leader among investors in 2012 on “conflict minerals” through a coalition with companies including AMD, HP, GE and Ford and human rights advocacy groups led by the Enough Project and Global Witness (plus shareholder advocates As You Sow and other SRIs).  The multi-stakeholder group has supported disclosure requirements to certify that certain minerals used in cell phones and other consumer electronic components (tin, titanium, tantalum and gold) are not illegally mined to fuel the continuing bloody conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).  Such requirements were enacted as Section 1502 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010. The SEC voted on August 22 on the final rule regarding disclosure and reporting obligations to implement the requirements of Section 1502.  Calvert helped to draft statements commenting on the rule, reflecting the consensus shared among our investor allies and other multi-stakeholder group allies that while the phase-in for reporting is unnecessarily long—especially given that the rule was only released two years after the enactment of the law—its other key provisions are sufficient to ensure the kind of information necessary for investors to assess due diligence efforts on the part of affected companies.  Calvert also took the lead among investors in the multi-stakeholder group to forge a common statement urging implementation of the law along the lines outlined by the rule, regardless of the subsequent lawsuit filed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Investors to Business: Respect Human Rights

The UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, endorsed by the UN Human Rights Council in 2011, began to gain traction in 2012 with Calvert taking a leading role among investors on a global basis.  We completed work in late 2012 together with the Institute for Human Rights and Business and the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility on an Investor Guide to the Guiding Principles, to be launched on the web and at events in New York and London in early 2013.

As the only investor to speak at the UN Forum on Business and Human Rights in Geneva in December, Calvert SVP- Sustainability Research and Policy Bennett Freeman emphasized the utility of the guiding Principles as a risk assessment and due diligence framework for investors and highlighted examples of current issues on which investors have worked together with companies and NGOs to diminish human rights risk, citing conflict minerals in the DRC as well as standards for companies entering Burma and Internet companies facing issues related to freedom of expression and privacy around the world.

On Burma, Calvert played a key role among investors under the umbrella of the Conflict Risk Network in raising specific concerns with the White House and State Department over draft guidelines for company reporting on their human rights performance.

Calvert also maintained its leadership role on the Board of the Global Network Initiative (GNI), the multi-stakeholder initiative launched in 2008 that has brought together major internet and communications technology companies along with human rights NGOs, other SRIs and academic experts. Facebook became an observer, joining Microsoft, Google and Yahoo! the initial company signatories, within GNI in 2012 and a group of European telecom companies were poised to form a partnership with GNI in early 2013.

Corporate Diversity Progress, Obstacles Mirror Broader Society

An African-American was reelected President, more women were elected to the U.S. Senate in 2012 than ever before and major strides were made toward LGBT equality in states across the country, yet few would argue that equality has been fully achieved in the U.S. Likewise while there has been continued progress on diversity in Corporate America (with crucial support from investors), the pace of change remains far too slow. While there were both important advances with 50 companies that Calvert has engaged to date publicly committing to create more diverse boards, the representation of women and minorities in the boardrooms and executive suites of the largest companies in the United States remains uneven. Calvert’s 2012 diversity report, Examining the Cracks in the Glass Ceiling, slated for release in early 2013, benchmarks the diversity performance of the S&P 100. As the New Year begins we draw inspiration from leading companies such as Coca-Cola Company, Pepsi Co., and American Express Corp, all of which continue to raise standards for inclusion in Corporate America because they recognize that diversity is a critical component of strong corporate governance and durable competitive advantage.

Ignorance Is Risk – Improving Disclosure to Help Diminish Investment Risk

Calvert won commitments for improved disclosure from companies that will help us make more informed investment decisions and drive improved sustainability performance on the part of business. Our work to expand disclosure of environmental and social risks and improve the corporate management systems to address these risks included successful direct dialogue with companies like Hanesbrands, Williams Sonoma and many others.  Calvert also played a leadership role in a multi-year effort (that concluded with the release of a final report in 2012) to push for greater disclosure in emerging market companies, an important initiative  given the growing investment opportunities in these companies.

Broadening Corporate Governance to Embrace Sustainability

An important recent trend has accelerated toward oversight of companies’ key environmental and social risks by senior executives and boards of directors. When disasters strike, they shine a light on corporate accountability, and boards increasingly recognize that issues like human and labor rights, and water and energy scarcity, can have material financial impacts on a company’s bottom-line. Calvert believes it is critical for companies to “set the tone at the top” regarding sustainability risks, material business impacts, and disclosure. During the past year, four companies, including Comcast, Xerox, Jones Apparel Group, and Graftek International agreed to adopt formal measures of board oversight of sustainability.

During the 2012 proxy season Calvert also filed proposals addressing board diversity; sustainability disclosure; water and climate change-related risks; and bank loan servicing to lower income borrowers. We withdrew sixteen of the twenty-three proposals we filed after the companies agreed to take steps to address our key elements of concern. Our engagement with JM Smucker’s led to significant improvements by the company on climate risk related to coffee.

 

Source: Calvert Investment Management, Inc., 4550 Montgomery Avenue, Bethesda, MD 20814.
For more information on Calvert and its mutual funds, etc. go to- www.calvert.com

The Law of Divine Compensation: On Work, Money and Miracles

by Marianne Williamson

 

If money and work are areas where you feel you could use a miraculous shift, check out what this new book by Marianne Williamson has to offer.

In her new book, The Law of Divine Compensation, Marianne writes about the alignment of spiritual mission and  worldly career. How do our thoughts both attract—or deflect—miraculous breakthroughs in the areas of work and money?

Excerpt from the new book:

“As an expression of divine perfection, the universe is both self-organizing and self-correcting. To whatever extent your mind is aligned with love, you will receive divine compensation for any lack in your material existence. From spiritual substance will come material manifestation. This is not just a theory; it is a fact. It is a law by which the universe operates. I call it the Law of Divine Compensation.

Just as there are objective, discernible laws of external phenomena, so there are objective, discernible laws of internal phenomena. The law of gravity, for instance, is not just a “belief.” It is true whether or not you believe it. Spiritual laws are not just beliefs, either; they are descriptions of how consciousness operates.

Once we know this law-that there is a natural tendency of the universe to improve all things-then we lean naturally into the arms of God and allow Him to lift us up. We surrender our thoughts, then He uplifts our thoughts, then our experiences change. The practical issue is whether we choose thoughts that activate or deactivate the Law of Divine Compensation. We activate it with every loving thought. We deactivate it when we give more credence to the reality and power of the material world than to the reality and power of love.

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If our circumstances tempt us to think thoughts such as, “I must not be good enough,” “I will never have another chance,” “It will take forever for this to right itself,” or “I hate whoever is to blame for this,” then miracles, though they are programmed into the nature of the universe, cannot make their way into our awareness. With every thought we think, we either summon or block a miracle. It is not our circumstances, then, but rather our thoughts about our circumstances, that determine our power to transform them.

The Law of Divine Compensation applies equally to all situations, but in this book we will focus on its application to money and the lack thereof. In a time of economic uncertainty-when circumstances make it particularly tempting to believe in the scarcity of the material plane over the abundance of the spiritual-our capacity to think differently is the miracle-worker’s edge. Bills stare you in the face. Foreclosure looms. Credit is wrecked. Jobs aren’t available. And with all that comes chaos on many fronts. Who doesn’t need a miracle then?”

–from The Law of Divine Compensation: On Work, Money and Miracles
Harper Collins

Source: www.Marianne.com

More on the Book

In The Law of Divine Compensation: On Work, Money, and Miracles the #1 New York Times bestselling author Marianne Williamson provides a unique perspective on our financial condition through the lens of A Course in Miracles. She reveals a path to abundance by way of a powerful spiritual principle called the Law of Divine Compensation. The Law says that when we lack faith in our higher selves and focus on the negative, we create and perpetuate our own negative circumstances; conversely, when we have faith in God and in love and all that can go right in our lives, we open ourselves to receive the miracles the universe is holding for us.

While millions have suffered heartbreaking and seemingly intractable financial woes, every one of us possesses the power to believe that something else is possible, that our destinies can change, that a miracle can happen. This simple shift in how we think can have a monumental effect on what happens next.

In The Law of Divine Compensation you will discover how the power of your thoughts can attract—or deflect—miraculous breakthroughs in your life. Williamson reveals that the Law is not about hoping, dreaming, or wishing we’d win the lottery; rather it is about faith as a mental and emotional muscle we must exercise in order to benefit from. This powerful spiritual principle will us help us overcome financial stress and unleash the divine power of abundance. If we have faith in God’s promise of prosperity for all, we need never fear the future.

Marianne Williamson is an internationally acclaimed spiritual author and lecturer. Six of her ten published books have been New York Times Best Sellers. Four of these have been #1 New York Times Best Sellers. A paragraph from A Return to Love, beginning “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate, Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure…” – is considered an anthem for a contemporary generation of seekers.

Marianne’s other books include The Age of Miracles, Everyday Grace, A Woman’s Worth, Illuminata, Healing the Soul of America, A Course in Weight Loss, and The Gift of Change.

Conscious Capitalism: Liberating the Heroic Spirit of Business

by John Mackey and Raj Sisodia
Harvard Business Press Books (January 2013)

 
“We believe that business is good because it creates value, it is ethical because it is based on voluntary exchange, it is noble because it can elevate our existence, and it is heroic because it lifts people out of poverty and creates prosperity. Free-enterprise capitalism is the most powerful system for social cooperation and human progress ever conceived. It is one of the most compelling ideas we humans have ever had. But we can aspire to something even greater.” 
— From the Conscious Capitalism Credo.

In this new book, Whole Foods Market cofounder John Mackey and professor and Conscious Capitalism, Inc. cofounder Raj Sisodia argue for the inherent good of both business and capitalism. Featuring some of today’s best-known companies, they illustrate how these two forces can–and do–work most powerfully to create value for all stakeholders: including customers, employees, suppliers, investors, society, and the environment.

These “Conscious Capitalism” companies include Whole Foods Market, Southwest Airlines, Costco, Google, Patagonia, The Container Store, UPS, and dozens of others. We know them; we buy their products or use their services. Now it’s time to better understand how these organizations use four specific tenets–higher purpose, stakeholder integration, conscious leadership, and conscious culture and management–to build strong businesses and help advance capitalism further toward realizing its highest potential.

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As leaders of the Conscious Capitalism movement, Mackey and Sisodia argue that aspiring leaders and business builders need to continue on this path of transformation–for the good of both business and society as a whole.

At once a bold defense and reimagining of capitalism and a blueprint for a new system for doing business grounded in a more evolved ethical consciousness, this book provides a new lens for individuals and companies looking to build a more cooperative, humane, and positive future.

John Mackey is co-CEO and cofounder of Whole Foods Market and cofounder of the nonprofit Conscious Capitalism, Inc. He has devoted his life to selling natural and organic foods and to building a better business model. Dr. Rajendra (Raj) Sisodia is cofounder and trustee of Conscious Capitalism, Inc. and professor of marketing at Bentley University. He has authored seven books, including Firms of Endearment.

Source: www.hbr.org

Cliff Feigenbaum, founder of GreenMoney Journal, named to List of Top 100 Thought Leaders in Trustworthy Business

Trust Across America Names Top 100 Thought Leaders 2013

 

Trust Across America, global leaders in information, standards and data, and Who’s Who in trustworthy business has selected 2013’s Top 100 Thought Leaders in Trustworthy Business Behavior. These people collectively represent a group that can genuinely transform the way organizations do business.

According to Barbara Kimmel, Executive Director, “The release of this third annual list coincides with the formal launch of Trust Across America’s Campaign for Trust, a two-year collaborative initiative to reverse the cycle of mistrust in business.”

This year’s recipients hail from around the globe and once again include leaders from the public and private sectors as well as authors, consultants, researchers and academics. Each recipient has made an extensive and positive contribution to building trust in business and many have already joined Trust Across America’s Alliance of Trustworthy Business Experts (ATBE), a program that launched in the fourth quarter of 2012 and has already grown to over 150 global experts who are collaboratively joining forces to combat the world’s trust crisis.

The full list of honorees can be found here at – www.trustacrossamerica.com/offerings-thought-leaders-2013.shtml

Trust Across America publicized and received hundreds of nominations from around the world. The list was narrowed through an extensive vetting and independent judging process.

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According to Barbara Kimmel, “The honorees are inspiring organizations to look more closely at their higher purpose…to create greater value for, and trust from, all of their stakeholders. They understand that trust is an asset that can leverage real business gains . We congratulate all of these leaders whose work is shining a spotlight on the importance of trust and providing a roadmap for others to follow.”

Trust Across America™ (TAA) www.trustacrossamerica.com is a program of Next Decade, Inc., an award-winning communications firm that has been unraveling and simplifying complex subjects for over 20 years. TAA provides a framework for public companies to improve trustworthy business practices, as well as showcasing role models that are exhibiting high levels of trust and integrity.

CONTACT:
Barbara Kimmel, Executive Director, Trust Across America
(908) 879-6625 and barbara@trustacrossamerica.com
Twitter: @BarbaraKimmel

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