Category: July-August 2016 – The Future of Energy

Energy: Change or Be Changed

By Carole Laible, chief executive officer, Domini Social Investments

energy-change-or-be-changedHuman nature often resists change. We struggle with moving from familiar surroundings to new, unknown territories. Yet, when it comes to the greatest single challenge we face today, our resistance to change will surely cause massive, uncontrollable, and unforeseeable changes.

Climate change is upon us. We know with certainty that our behavior is impacting the planet we inhabit. The last time atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide were this high was millions of years ago, long before Homo sapiens appeared. This places us in an entirely new era of risk, for which we have no precedent or reliable benchmark.

The increasing reality of climate change attributable to the burning of fossil fuels and the speed of changes to our planet has been well documented. The level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is now increasing rapidly and has grown from 315 parts per million in 1960 to 402 as of January 2016. Moreover, the annual growth rate of carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere is increasing, from approximately 1 percent in the 1960s to about 2 percent since 2010.[1]

Because the oceans absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, their chemical make-up is also altering. The oceans absorb 24 million metric tons of carbon dioxide each day, which has resulted in an overall 26 percent increase in the acidity of their waters since preindustrial times. Acidification of the oceans is currently increasing at ten times the rate of any period of time in the past 55 million years.[2]

The increasing levels of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere are resulting in a warming of the Earth. Since 1901 the average temperature in the 48 contiguous United States has increased at the rate of 0.14 degrees Fahrenheit per decade. Since the 1970s this rate has increased to 0.46. Seven of the 10 warmest years on record have occurred since 1998.[3] Globally, 2015 was the warmest year on record.[4]

According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, these changes are due to human activity and in large part due to the burning of fossil fuels. These climate changes have made our current consumption levels of fossil fuels unsustainable. One hundred and ninety five nations gathered in Paris to establish a 2 degree Celsius ceiling on global warming, with an aspirational goal of 1.5 degrees. Plans are underway to reduce carbon emissions as soon as possible. The shift away from fossil fuels is underway. And we must act with haste.

Climate change is the ultimate systemic risk. Its potential impacts will be global and will be disproportionately afflicted on the most vulnerable members of our civilization. Its profound disruptions will result in the indiscriminate extinction of species.[5] Those who are most vulnerable to the changes brought on by climate change will be those who have least contributed to it.[6]

Sociologist C. Wright Mills believed that we are not destined by inevitable fate, but rather, by individual actions and that although each of these actions may seem of small consequence, in total, they result in “a way no man intended.” But, we are not passive pawns on a global stage of inevitable fate. We must purposefully use our individual actions for collective good, rather than allow ourselves to drift along, or more frighteningly barrel along, into unintended consequences. Our actions can be of both large and small scales. We can support the decision-makers of the 195 nations that have vowed to cut carbon emissions as expeditiously as possible while at the same time limiting our own personal consumption. We can encourage utility companies to seek renewable energy sources while we investigate whether solar power is a viable option for our own homes. We can call for a carbon tax while considering an electric vehicle for our next automobile purchase. And we can harness the power of our investment accounts to help advance the changes needed in the energy sector.

Many individuals and organizations are considering divestment of fossil fuel companies in their investment portfolios. New York State Senator Liz Krueger proposed legislation for divestment of fossil fuel companies from its public pension funds, the Rockefeller Foundation announced their intention to divest, and more than 500 institutions and individuals with assets in excess of $3.4 trillion have taken steps towards fossil fuel divestment.[7]

As a registered investment adviser, for many years, we at Domini Social Investments have incorporated concerns about the environmental risks of fossil fuel production into our investment decisions, our shareholder advocacy and our public policy work. Since the inception of our first mutual fund in 1991 (Domini Social Equity Fund), we have never held coal-mining companies. In the past, we approved few major integrated oil companies, and we now exclude all owners and producers of oil, natural gas or coal reserves from our funds. We made these decisions in light of the financial, environmental, and moral concerns associated with fossil fuels and in recognition that an increasing portion of the responsible investment community has found divestment a productive avenue to further debate on climate change.

Among the most powerful arguments for the effectiveness of divestment campaigns is the promotion of the public debate and resulting influence on public policy. This was particularly true in the South Africa divestment campaign of the 1970s and 1980s. The short-term goal was to improve corporations’ race relations under apartheid, but its ultimate goal was the orderly dismantling of the apartheid legal system itself. The debates that this divestment provoked were particularly high profile, receiving wide press coverage, and decisions to divest contributed to a general global pressure upon the South African government to reform. It is the role of orderly debate that leads to change, despite entrenched interests or long-standing opposition; that is one of divestment’s greatest virtues.

The unique nature of the climate change threat requires us all to think differently. We must not continue down the “business as usual” path. To ensure a safe, healthy planet, roughly 80 percent of current fossil fuel reserves must stay in the ground. Owning fossil fuel companies in our investment portfolios implies that we are hopeful these companies will prosper in the future. However, the oil majors have told us they are committed to an imprudent path. Both Exxon Mobil and Shell deny that their reserves, that is, the fuel they’ve discovered but is still in the ground, will be stranded. According to Carbon Tracker, “Exxon has come clean that they are betting on 6 degrees of warming….” As investors, we must reject such behavior; our portfolios and our planet depend on it.

As a registered investment adviser, for many years, we at Domini Social Investments have incorporated concerns about the environmental risks of fossil fuel production into our investment decisions, our shareholder advocacy and our public policy work. Since the inception of our first mutual fund in 1991 (Domini Social Equity Fund), we have never held coal-mining companies. In the past, we approved few major integrated oil companies, and we now exclude all owners and producers of oil, natural gas or coal reserves from our funds. We made these decisions in light of the financial, environmental, and moral concerns associated with fossil fuels and in recognition that an increasing portion of the responsible investment community has found divestment a productive avenue to further debate on climate change.

Among the most powerful arguments for the effectiveness of divestment campaigns is the promotion of the public debate and resulting influence on public policy. This was particularly true in the South Africa divestment campaign of the 1970s and 1980s. The short-term goal was to improve corporations’ race relations under apartheid, but its ultimate goal was the orderly dismantling of the apartheid legal system itself. The debates that this divestment provoked were particularly high profile, receiving wide press coverage, and decisions to divest contributed to a general global pressure upon the South African government to reform. It is the role of orderly debate that leads to change, despite entrenched interests or long-standing opposition; that is one of divestment’s greatest virtues.

The unique nature of the climate change threat requires us all to think differently. We must not continue down the “business as usual” path. To ensure a safe, healthy planet, roughly 80 percent of current fossil fuel reserves must stay in the ground. Owning fossil fuel companies in our investment portfolios implies that we are hopeful these companies will prosper in the future. However, the oil majors have told us they are committed to an imprudent path. Both Exxon Mobil and Shell deny that their reserves, that is, the fuel they’ve discovered but is still in the ground, will be stranded. According to Carbon Tracker, “Exxon has come clean that they are betting on 6 degrees of warming….” As investors, we must reject such behavior; our portfolios and our planet depend on it.

Although our instinct is to resist change, life often teaches us that change.

 

Article by Carol Laible, CEO of Domini Social Investments (www.domini.com)

Carole M. Laible is responsible for the overall operations of Domini Social Investments, including both research and mutual fund operations. She serves on the Domini Standards Committee to define, clarify, and implement Domini’s Global Investment Standards. In addition, she maintains a non-voting seat on Domini’s ESG investment committee. She plans, organizes, and is responsible for the implementation of day-to-day activities of Domini, and collaborates with Amy Domini, Chair, in the development of overall business strategy and business plan implementation. Ms. Laible played a key role in the launch of the Domini International Social Equity Fund, as well as, the current investment strategy and sub-manager selection for the Domini Social Bond Fund and the Domini Social Equity Fund.

Ms. Laible joined the company at its inception in November 1997, after more than ten years of experience in the mutual fund industry. After serving for several years as Domini’s Director of Finance and Compliance, Ms. Laible became Chief Operating Officer and then President. Ms. Laible holds a B.S. in accountancy from St. John’s University and is a Certified Public Accountant.

ARTICLE NOTES:

1 Measurements by the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration, available at http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/ccgg/trends/

2 See the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration’s webpage at http://www.pmel.noaa.gov/co2/story/New+OA+website+launched

3 See the Environmental Protection Agency’s webpage “Climate Change Indicators in the United States” for further details at http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/science/indicators/weather-climate/temperature.html . Also Karl Ritter, “UN Agency Refutes Notion that Global Warming Has Stopped” Boston Globe December 4, 2014: A4.

4 See the website of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Centers for Environmental Information at http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/global/201512

5 See Elizabeth Kolbert, The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History (New York: Henry Holt & Co.) 2014.

6 See McKenzie Funk, Windfall: The Booming Business of Global Warming (New York: Penguin Press) 2014.

7 See the website of GoFossilFree.org at http://gofossilfree.org/in-the-space-of-just-10-weeks/

Thomson Reuters and TruValue Labs Deliver Real-Time ESG Intelligence on Eikon Platform

Dynamic ESG Data Used To Assess Portfolios for Long-Term Sustainability

TruValue Labs and Thomson Reuters announced in late June the availability of Insight360 real-time Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance (ESG) data on Thomson Reuters’ Eikon. Insight360 answers financial professionals’ need for real-time and material content and analysis regarding corporate risk and public companies’ extra financial performance – also called sustainability, or ESG performance. Thomson Reuters’ Eikon subscribers can add Insight360 to their portfolio instantly and at low cost to support investment decision-making. “The integration of TruValue Labs’ Insight360 on Eikon provides current, comprehensive, user-directed ESG information about a wide universe of companies, information that is critical to our subscribers,” said Susan Lundquist, head of product strategy, asset management, Thomson Reuters. “This collaboration further demonstrates our ongoing pledge to partner with innovative companies to offer powerful solutions that drive informed investment decision-making for our clients.” Insight360 is the first ESG solution to extract unstructured data comprehensively, accurately, and in real time about regulatory concerns, social/cultural backlash, product liabilities, intellectual property portfolios and development, employee actions, political risk, and more. “TruValue Labs fundamentally changes the research and analysis paradigm with the first technology platform to make sense of vast amounts of unstructured investment data,” said Andreas Feiner, Head of ESG Research and Advisory, Partner, Arabesque Partners. “Instant access to accurate, real-time ESG data is a critical factor to investors and capital market players looking for a competitive edge.” “Thomson Reuters shares our commitment to providing comprehensive and actionable insights and information to financial professionals,” said Hendrik Bartel, co-founder and CEO, TruValue Labs. “ESG issues affect financial performance and having access to real-time data reduces risk and reveals opportunities.”

How Insight360 works

Insight360 mines unstructured data from more than 75,000 sources in real-time to deliver the most current and objective ESG data to Eikon subscribers. A cognitive computing engine at the core of Insight360 searches for and categorizes corporate information relevant to sustainability and ESG. The system is designed to capture, filter, and assess important events and controversies and deliver both qualitative and quantitative results. Subscribers can configure filters to improve accuracy and relevancy on the events and information they care about most.

Availability
Insight360 is available immediately in the Thomson Reuters Eikon App Studio as an annual subscription. The cost to Eikon subscribers is $1,800.00 US a year.

 

About Thomson Reuters Eikon

Thomson Reuters Eikon is a powerful and intuitive next-generation solution for consuming real-time and historical data, enabling financial markets transactions and connecting with the financial markets community. Its award-winning news, analytics and data visualization tools help its users make more efficient trading and investment decisions across asset classes and instruments including commodities, derivatives, equities, fixed income and foreign exchange. Eikon is an open platform, customizable to the individual needs of a financial professional or institution. For more information, visit- http://financial.thomsonreuters.com/en/products/tools-applications/trading-investment-tools/eikon-trading-software.html

About Thomson Reuters
Thomson Reuters is the world’s leading source of news and information for professional markets. Our customers rely on us to deliver the intelligence, technology and expertise they need to find trusted answers. The business has operated in more than 100 countries for more than 100 years. Thomson Reuters shares are listed on the Toronto and New York Stock Exchanges. For more information, visit- http://thomsonreuters.com/

About TruValue Labs
TruValue Labs is the first technology company to apply artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to the 80% or more of financial information about public companies obscured in unstructured data. TruValue Labs’ flagship product, Insight360, makes Environmental, Social, & Governance (ESG) characteristics easy to understand and communicate. Offered as SaaS and data API products, Insight360 monitors thousands of public companies in tens of thousands of sources and analyzes ESG data to provide actionable investment insights in real-time.

States that are Leading the Transition to a Clean Energy Economy

California Metro Areas also Top Annual U.S. Clean Tech Leadership Index Rankings from Clean Edge

by Clint Wilder, Senior Editor, Clean Edge

 

feature-5-headshotAt a time of notable acceleration in the nation’s transition to a clean energy economy, California leads all states in clean tech leadership for the seventh consecutive year, according to annual rankings released in May 2016 by Clean Edge, a leading clean tech research and advisory firm.

Based in Portland, Oregon, and the San Francisco Bay Area, Clean Edge annually benchmarks all 50 states and the 50 largest U.S. metro areas on dozens of metrics covering clean energy, clean transportation deployment, policy leadership, financial investments in the clean tech sector, and relevant human and intellectual capital. In the 2016 U.S. Clean Tech Leadership Index, California retained its seven-year hold on the #1 ranking in the Technology category, while swapping places with Massachusetts in the other two categories: Policy and Capital. The solar power capital of the U.S. in both industry presence and deployment, California generated more than 15,000 utility-scale Gwh (Gigawatt hours) and more than 5,000 distributed GWh of power from the sun in 2015, both the most in the nation by far.

California captured the best score in the Policy category for the first time, spearheaded by its aggressive RPS (Renewable Portfolio Standard) increase to 50 percent renewables by 2030 (from 33 percent in 2020, which the state’s investor-owned utilities say they are on track to meet). California ceded the top spot in Capital to its cross-country rival, Massachusetts; the two states have occupied the top two places in Capital in every edition of the Index back to 2010. All quantified indicators in the Clean Edge rankings are normalized for population.


1_Top-10-states
But Vermont is arguably the big story of the top 10, making a three-place jump from the previous year to #3, an unprecedented surge at that level of the rankings. Vermont knocked Oregon down one spot to fourth, while New York held onto to the #5 ranking for the third straight year. The rest of the top 10 are closely bunched; just 5.4 points separate the sixth and tenth place states. Colorado dropped two places to sixth, while #7 Illinois and #8 Connecticut swapped places from 2015. Washington State (after three straight years of declining rankings) and Hawaii held steady at ninth and 10th, respectively. Just missing the top 10 were Maryland and Rhode Island, which each improved by five places to #11 and #12, respectively.

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Accelerating Transition

The 2016 Index results come at a time of notable acceleration in the nation’s transition to a clean energy economy, where an increasing number of cities, states, and companies are raising their renewable energy targets, green buildings are becoming the standard, and energy storage and EVs are moving into the mainstream.

At the state level, the transition to a clean energy economy over the past seven years has been remarkable. In 2015, 14 states exceeded 10 percent in-state generation from non-hydro renewables (up from just one state in 2010). The top three states (Iowa, South Dakota, and Kansas) were at 31 percent, 25 percent, and 24 percent respectively. And it’s not just wind generation – in this year’s Index, California became the first state to generate 10 percent of its in-state electricity from utility-scale and distributed solar, with Hawaii not far behind at 7 percent.

 

3_Top Clean Electric

 

This dramatic shift (more than 60 percent of all new U.S. electricity generating capacity additions last year came from solar and wind) represents both the maturation of the clean-energy sector and a deployment landscape that seemingly transcends politics. Among the top 10 states for utility-scale clean electricity generation (not including hydro), half were red states during the last presidential election (Idaho, Kansas, North Dakota, Oklahoma, and South Dakota) and half were blue (California, Colorado, Iowa, Minnesota, and Vermont).

And it’s not just utility-scale renewables that pierce the myth of a red-blue divide when it comes to clean energy deployment. This year’s Top 10 states for EV – Electric Vehicle registrations (normalized for population) include three red states (Arizona, Georgia, and Utah) and two that are purple (swing) states in the current election cycle (Colorado and Nevada). For smart meter penetration, red states represent half of the Top 10 spots: Georgia (87 percent), Arizona (74 percent), Alabama (72 percent), Idaho (71 percent), and Texas (70 percent). In some indicators, such as LEED green building deployment, coastal and left-leaning states dominate the Top 10, while in others, such as demand response peak demand shaved, more red states lead.

California Cities Lead, as Well

California also dominates the 2016 Metro Clean Tech Leadership Index, with its largest cities capturing the top three places and four of the top six. The San Francisco Bay Area’s leadership continues into its fifth year: San Francisco and San Jose have finished in the top two for each year the Index has been run, with San Francisco leading the pack for the last four years. However, San Francisco’s lead has narrowed considerably, going from nearly 15 points in the 2014 Index to just 2.5 points in 2016. That being said, the two neighboring metros remain head and shoulders above the rest of the field, with #3 San Diego finishing more than 30 points behind San Jose.

4_Metro-Leadership585

The top 10 metros returned intact this year from the 2015 Index, while their order changed only slightly. San Diego snagged the third spot from fourth-place Portland, Ore., with Washington, DC (#5), and Los Angeles (#6) following, but the difference between #4 Portland and #6 Los Angeles is only .15 points. Boston (#7) and Seattle (#8) change places, though they are virtually tied with only .03 points between them. Austin and Chicago round out the top 10, as they did in last year’s Index.

 

5_Top 10 MetrosAmong states, the Technology category tracks the progress of states’ deployment across three subcategories: Clean Electricity (renewable energy generation, energy storage, fuel cell deployment), Clean Transportation (use of electric vehicles, hybrids, plug-in hybrids, biofuels, natural gas vehicles, charging/fueling infrastructure), and Energy Intelligence & Green Building (green building projects, smart grid deployment). For the seventh straight year, California leads the Technology category in 2016 by a substantial margin.

 

6_Top-10-Technology585

But the historical trajectories of the top 10 Technology states over the Index’s seven years show two New England states – Massachusetts and Maine – moving from also-rans to national leaders alongside Vermont and the traditional resource-rich clean-energy deployment champions from the West and Midwest. Massachusetts, #18 in 2010, has improved its ranking every year but one and claimed its highest-ever place of sixth in 2016. The Bay State jumped four places in utility-scale generation, and ranks in the top 10 in utility-scale solar, distributed solar, energy storage (#1), hybrid and plug-in hybrid vehicles, and EV charging stations. Maine, the national leader in biomass generation, joined the top 10 for the first time this year at #9 after three years at 15th; back in 2010, the state was a lowly 31st. Nevada (26th in the overall Index), Maine (18th) and Minnesota (15th) are the three Technology top 10 states ranking lowest overall in the Leadership Index.

Vermont’s Remarkable Rise

Although helped by the “law of small numbers” – Vermont’s population is 49th in the nation, about 1/60th that of California’s – its rise to the top is nonetheless remarkable. With its Vermont Yankee nuclear plant shuttered in late 2014, the tiny state has significantly increased both renewables and efficiency. Vermont jumped 11 places in the Index’s utility-scale clean electricity generation indicator (solar, wind, and geothermal as a percentage of total generation) from 16th to fifth, with 18.6 percent. Add in the state’s notable hydro and biomass generation, and the state was virtually 100 percent clean energy-powered in 2015, at 99.8 percent. And this snowy winter paradise in northern New England is #3 in the nation in its share of electrons from both utility-scale solar (behind California and Nevada) and distributed PV – Photovoltaic (behind Hawaii and California).

Other Findings

Wind power remains the biggest contributor of clean electrons in most states with significant percentages of in-state clean electricity generation. A dozen states generated at least 10 percent of their power from wind in 2015 (with Texas’s 9.98 percent rounded up); perennial leader Iowa topped the field once again, this time exceeding the historic 30 percent threshold at 31.3 percent. South Dakota and Kansas surpassed 20 percent. Vermont impresses here too, ranking #8 in the indicator (a 12-place jump from the previous year) at 15.5 percent; it’s the only Eastern state in the top 10.

In the Metro Index, the Clean Electricity and Carbon Management category ranks metro areas based on the extent to which they use renewable electricity and have, or are committed to having, low carbon emissions. The West Coast has almost completely taken over leadership in this category, with all six California cities and the two Pacific Northwest metros appearing in the top 10. San Jose (up four spots to #1), San Francisco, San Diego, and Los Angeles give the Golden State a top-four sweep, with 2015 category leader Portland, Sacramento, and Seattle filling the 5-7 slots and Riverside coming in ninth. Austin (#8) and Boston (#10) are the only top 10 metros not located on the West Coast.

This category consists of a mixture of qualitative and quantitative measures. The quantitative indicators include two that use state-level electricity generation data as a proxy for local clean electricity; one that measures carbon emissions from large industrial and power-producing facilities; and a new indicator measuring installed solar power in each metro’s principal city. The qualitative measures have increased this year, with new indicators giving credit for reporting and reducing carbon emissions, and for setting high renewable electricity goals.

7_Regional-Electricity

The regional electricity mix indicator leaders are virtually unchanged from 2015. Metros in leading solar states such as California and Nevada mix with wind-dominant places like Oklahoma City, Minneapolis, and Denver to set the pace in the indicator that includes only wind, solar, and geothermal. The equation changes when adding hydro and biomass: Seattle and Portland vault to the top of the charts, followed by the California metros.

 

Article by Clint Wilder, senior editor at leading clean-tech research and advisory firm Clean Edge (www.cleanedge.com). He has been writing and speaking about the clean-tech industry for more than a decade. He is co-author of two books, Clean Tech Nation: How the U.S. Can Lead in the New Global Economy (HarperCollins, 2012) and The Clean Tech Revolution (HarperCollins, 2007). Clint is a frequent speaker at clean-tech and green business events in the U.S. and overseas, a blogger for the Green section of The Huffington Post, and has been a facilitator in the Energy and Climate Change track of the Clinton Global Initiative. Clint is also a board member of RE-volv, a San Francisco non-profit using crowdfunding to finance solar power on community-based organizations.

Uncommon Cacao Raises Impact Investment Capital From Acumen Fund, PI Investments

Uncommon Cacao, an industry-leading premium cacao supply chain operation, announced in late June 2016 the closing of its Series A impact investment capital raise led by Pi Investments as lead investor and Acumen as the largest investor in the round.

Founded in 2010, Uncommon Cacao (www.uncommoncacao.com) works directly with smallholder farmers in Central America to source, produce and export high-quality cacao and supplies to more than 90 chocolate makers in the U.S. and abroad through a sales operation based in Oakland, CA. The public benefit corporation creates meaningful market access for smallholder cacao farmers, revolutionizing local economies by linking farmers to the specialty cacao industry through a focus on consistently delivering quality beans. The company has built a transparent supply chain that drives significant value to farmers, and creates meaningful impact for communities at origin.

Cacao, also called cocoa, is the raw material for making chocolate, a food product which has been experiencing rapid growth in the premium sector and transforming towards a focus on “craft” or “bean-to-bar” chocolate. When Uncommon Cacao first began operations in Belize in 2010, through its farmer-focused export operation Maya Mountain Cacao, there were only a handful of bean-to-bar chocolate makers in the U.S. There are currently over 300 such makers in the market today.

“It is time for a sea change in the chocolate supply chain towards decommoditization of cacao, as we have seen in coffee and other crops. Uncommon Cacao’s model is a supply chain focused on quality and transparency, which farmers and chocolate makers are proud to form part of,” says Emily Stone, CEO of Uncommon Cacao, Inc.

Uncommon Cacao had previously raised variable payment obligation debt, known as the Demand Dividend, through a syndicate led by the Eleos Foundation in 2013. Eleos and the syndicate converted the debt alongside the incoming Series A investors, and a number of investors from the original Demand Dividend group, including Wealth Plus, Inc. and Pi Investments out of California, re-upped to participate in the Series A.

“We are thrilled to deepen our work with Uncommon Cacao, and under such terms that will catalyze even greater and deeper impact at scale for the communities with which the company works,” says Morgan Simon, Managing Director of Pi Investments. “Applying an equitable and impact-focused lens on each term, the deal codified worker and farmer ownership, and a margin cap to ensure a fair distribution of benefit.”

Additionally, just prior to the closing of the Series A, Uncommon Cacao acquired Cacao Vivo, the direct sales brokerage division of Taza Chocolate. Rebranded as Uncommon Cacao Source + Trade after the acquisition, this business division will serve as a platform for scaling farmer impact and cacao sourcing beyond Uncommon Cacao’s existing operations in Central America with the goal of reaching 10,000 farmers across the tropical belt within the next five years.

Other innovative aspects of the deal include the establishment of a non-profit Farmer Fund which will hold equity in Uncommon Cacao, Inc. and receive a profit share from sales of cacao, and the reorganization of the company from a Massachusetts LLC into a Delaware Public Benefit Corporation.

“We are extremely excited to partner with Uncommon Cacao and all its stakeholders to collectively build an industry leading enterprise that is deeply committed to product quality, supply chain transparency, and meaningful social impact for farming communities at origin,” says Sean Moore, Associate Director and deal lead at Acumen.

Hogan Lovells US LLP provided invaluable legal assistance to Uncommon Cacao in connection with the investment and acquisition. Stone notes, “The high-level and high-touch professional support of Hogan Lovells throughout the 11 month-plus process of this Series A round was invaluable. We simply couldn’t have done it without them.”

 

For more information please contact Emily Stone, CEO of Uncommon Cacao, Inc., at emily@uncommoncacao.com or (857) 389-1627.

UMass Becomes First Major Public University to Divest From Direct Fossil Fuel Holdings

The University of Massachusetts in late May 2016 became the first major public university to divest its endowment from direct holdings in fossil fuels. The decision was made by a unanimous vote of the Board of Directors of the UMass Foundation, a separate not-for-profit corporation that oversees an endowment whose value was $770 million at the end of the last fiscal year.

The decision followed a series of developments that signaled the University community’s desire to fight climate change. Last year, the Foundation voted to divest from direct holdings in coal companies in response to a petition from the UMass Fossil Fuel Divestment Campaign, a student group. The UMass Board of Trustees later endorsed the Foundation’s decision and described climate change as “a serious threat to the planet.” Last month, the Campaign staged a series of demonstrations at UMass Amherst to call for divestment from all fossil fuels.

“This action is consistent with the principals that have guided our university since its Land Grant inception and reflects our commitment to take on the environmental challenges that confront us all,” said UMass President Marty Meehan. “Important societal change often begins on college campuses and it often begins with students. I’m proud of the students and the entire University community for putting UMass at the forefront of a vital movement, one that has been important to me throughout my professional life.”

During last month’s protest at UMass Amherst, Meehan met with two representatives of the UMass Fossil Fuel Divestment Campaign, Sarah Jacqz and Kristie Herman. After that meeting, he said he was prepared to recommend that UMass build on its coal divestment by removing from its endowment direct investments in fossil fuel companies and making additional investments in clean/sustainable energy.

To accomplish the latter, Meehan also announced today that he planned to tap the President’s Science and Technology Initiative Fund, which last year provided more than $900,000 in grants to UMass faculty researchers, to ensure future funding for sustainability/green technology projects. He said that UMass is also set to boost its academic and financial involvement in offshore wind energy.

“The Foundation’s action today makes a powerful statement about UMass’s commitment to combatting climate change and protecting our environment,” said UMass Amherst Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy. “It also speaks volumes about our students’ passionate commitment to social justice and the environment. It is largely due to their advocacy that that this important issue has received the attention that it deserves.”

UMass Board of Trustees Chairman Victor Woolridge said he would ask the Board to endorse the Foundation’s decision when it meets on June 15.

“With this vote, the UMass Foundation adopts a divestment position that is among the most aggressive established for any major university – public or private – in the United States,” said Woolridge. “We do so, in part, because members of the UMass community have urged us to consider divestment in moral terms. Since we acknowledge the moral imperative, we are willing to go beyond last year’s action and take this additional step, but we’re also mindful of our moral and fiduciary obligation to safeguard the University’s endowment, which provides critical funding for faculty research and student scholarships, and must be protected against losses. We believe this conclusive action balances those two priorities.”

“Divesting from investments in any particular sector is not done lightly and we have done so rarely,” said Foundation Treasurer and Investment Committee Chairman Edward H. D’Alelio. “The Foundation’s primary responsibility is a fiduciary one. Its primary mission is overseeing the endowment in an effort to maximize returns on funds donated for research, academic programs, financial aid and other purposes. That we took this step reflects not just our comfort as fiduciaries but the seriousness with which we see climate change.”

In addition to its divestment moves, the Foundation has taken a series of other steps to promote socially responsible investing. These include:

• Becoming a founding member of the Intentional Endowment Network, which supports colleges, universities, and other mission-driven tax-exempt organizations in aligning their endowment investment practices with their mission, values, and sustainability goals without sacrificing financial returns.

• Formally incorporating into its investment policies Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) criteria.

• Establishing a Social Choice Endowment option for donors.

• Becoming a signatory to the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), which provides a global system for organizations to measure, disclose, manage and share environmental information.

The Foundation’s efforts are part of a broader University commitment to sustainability – grounded in its origins as a Land-Grant university and its original mission as an agricultural school – that is reflected in the following achievements and initiatives:

• UMass conducts more than $20 million in environmental science research annually, and is recognized as a leader in areas including wind energy, climate science, marine science and biofuels.

• UMass Amherst ranked 21st in the 2015 edition of The Princeton Review’s Guide to 353 Green Colleges.

• UMass Boston launched the world’s first doctoral program in Green Chemistry.

• At UMass Dartmouth, researchers are developing technology to generate power from ocean and tidal currents.

• UMass Lowell’s National Science Foundation-supported research center brings together wind-energy industry and research experts to create next-generation thinking and technology.

• UMass Medical’s Albert Sherman Center, a LEED Gold research and education center that opened in 2013, employed an energy-efficient design and advanced technologies that make it 25 percent more efficient than similar buildings.

• Since 2007, the UMass system has reduced greenhouse gas emissions by about 17 percent, with UMass Amherst reducing its emissions by 23 percent.

• The University has aggressively increased the use of renewable energy, entering into 15 separate solar contracts with 10 different solar developers, with the vast majority already operational. When all fully on line, they will generate 59 million kilowatt hours and help the state’s electric grid avoid 28,500 metric tons of CO2. Over 20 years, UMass solar operations will allow the grid to avoid more than 544,000 metric tons of CO2.

• The University is a founding member of the Massachusetts Green High Performance Computing Center in Holyoke, a data center that supports the computing needs of the state’s five most research-intensive universities. The facility is the first university data center in the U.S. to be LEED platinum certified.

 

About the UMass Foundation

The UMass Foundation is a private, non-profit corporation founded in 1950 to foster and promote the growth, progress and general welfare of the University of Massachusetts, recently ranked as the No. 1 public university in New England in the World University Rankings. The Foundation provides a depository for charitable contributions to UMass, manages the University’s endowment, promotes private support of public higher education, and supports the fundraising efforts of the five UMass campuses – UMass Amherst, UMass Boston, UMass Dartmouth, UMass Lowell and UMass Medical School.

The World Nears Peak Fossil Fuels for Electricity

Coal and gas will begin their terminal decline in less than a decade, according to a new BNEF analysis.

by Tom Randall, Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF)

 

The way we get electricity is about to change dramatically, as the era of ever-expanding demand for fossil fuels comes to an end—in less than a decade. That’s according to a new forecast by Bloomberg New Energy Finance [1] that plots out global power markets for the next 25 years.

Call it peak fossil fuels, a turnabout that’s happening not because we’re running out of coal and gas, but because we’re finding cheaper alternatives. Demand is peaking ahead of schedule because electric cars and affordable battery storage for renewable power are arriving faster than expected [2], as are changes in China’s energy mix.

Here are Eight massive shifts coming soon to power markets:

1. There Will Be No Golden Age of Gas

Since 2008, the single most important force in U.S. power markets has been the abundance of cheap natural gas brought about by fracking. Cheap gas has ravaged the U.S. coal industry and inspired talk of a “bridge fuel” that moves the world from coal to renewable energy. It doesn’t look like that’s going to happen.

The costs of wind and solar power are falling too quickly for gas ever to dominate on a global scale, according to BNEF. The analysts reduced their long-term forecasts for coal and natural gas prices by a third for this year’s report, but even rock-bottom prices won’t be enough to derail a rapid global transition toward renewable energy.

“You can’t fight the future,” said Seb Henbest, the report’s lead author. “The economics are increasingly locked in.” The peak year for coal, gas, and oil: 2025.

2. Renewables Attract $7.8 Trillion

Humanity’s demand for electricity is still rising, and investments in fossil fuels will add up to $2.1 trillion through 2040. But that will be dwarfed by $7.8 trillion invested in renewables, including $3.4 trillion for solar, $3.1 trillion for wind, and $911 billion for hydro power.

Already, in many regions, the lifetime cost of wind and solar is less than the cost of building new fossil fuel plants, and that trend will continue. But by 2027, something remarkable happens. At that point, building new wind farms and solar fields will often be cheaper than running the existing coal and gas generators. “This is a tipping point that results in rapid and widespread renewables development,” according to BNEF.

The pink stuff on the top of this chart is new this year. It represents flexible capacity—technology, primarily large batteries for the home and grid, that smooths out the peaks and valleys inherent in wind and solar power. By 2028, batteries will be as ubiquitous as rooftop solar is today.

3. Electric Cars Rescue Power Markets

In this discussion of peak fossil fuels, the focus is on electricity generation, not transportation fuels. For cars, peak oil demand will take a bit more time. But the sudden rise of electric cars is on the verge of disrupting oil markets as well, and that has profound implications for electricity markets as more cars plug in.

In fact, electric cars couldn’t come at a better time for developed economies. Take Germany, where increases in efficiency mean that without electric cars, demand for electricity would be headed toward a prolonged and destabilizing decline. Electric vehicles will reverse that trend, according to BNEF.

The charts below show the soaring demand for battery capacity for cars and the difference that EVs will make to power demand worldwide. The adoption of electric cars will vary by country and continent, but overall they’ll add 8 percent to humanity’s total electricity use by 2040, BNEF found.

4. Batteries Join the Grid

Renewable energy and electric cars create a virtuous cycle of demand growth. Unlike fossil fuels—where a surge of demand leads to higher prices—with new energy technologies more demand begets more scale, and that drives prices lower.

The scale-up of electric cars increases demand for renewable energy and drives down the cost of batteries. And as those costs fall, batteries can increasingly be used to store solar power.

Read the full article that includes all Eight massive shifts coming soon to power markets with charts and graphs at this link – http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-06-13/we-ve-almost-reached-peak-fossil-fuels-for-electricity

 

Article Notes:

[1] http://about.bnef.com/press-releases/coal-and-gas-to-stay-cheap-but-renewables-still-win-race-on-costs
[2] http://www.bloomberg.com/features/2016-ev-oil-crisis

The New Grand Strategy: Restoring America’s Prosperity, Security and Sustainability in the 21st Century

A new book by Mark Mykleby, Patrick Doherty, and Joel Makower

 

Book_GrandStrategyThe New Grand Strategy describes a business plan for America, born at the Pentagon, that embeds sustainability as a strategic national imperative.

It tells how a discipline called “grand strategy” has been used in the past to align our economy, foreign policy and governance structures to take on the big challenges of the day, such as fighting fascism or containing communism.

Today’s big challenge is global unsustainability — things like rapid economic inclusion of three billion people, addressing climate change and natural resource depletion, strengthening weak national economies and strengthening America’s brittle infrastructure and supply chains.

The book lays out a plan that leverages the economy to do the heavy lifting, tapping trillion-dollar demand for walkable communities, regenerative agriculture and resource productivity. It proposes how to fund it without taxpayer dollars, and to deal with stranded assets like unburnable carbon without wrecking the economy.

And it shows how all of this together can restore America’s prosperity, security, and sustainability. In short, it is an inspiring vision of what’s possible when Americans hold a collective view of the future and come together to bring it to reality.

The plan combines the best of the Left and Right — a progressive agenda with a conservative approach, led by the private sector for profit, tapping local business and political leadership — and Washington can lead, follow or get out of the way.

The New Grand Strategy — the product of a military strategist, a policy strategist and a sustainable business strategist — details America’s path forward. It tells stories from the trenches — about the farmers, mayors, entrepreneurs, business executives, community leaders, and countless others who are finding their way — and weaves through this narrative the story of how a new business plan for America connects with America’s history, its economic success, and its role in the global community in the 21st century.

 

For more on the book and to order it go to-https://thenewgrandstrategy.com

State of Responsible Business: Good Progress with Lots of Room for Improvement

Ethical Corporation’s second State of Responsible Business report shows that corporate social responsibility has been boosted by the Paris Agreement but sustainability is far from business as usual

by Giles Constantine, Ethical Corporation

 

After the historic events of 2015 – from the highs of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the outcome from the COP21 summit in Paris, to the lows of the Volkswagen emissions scandal – there has never been more of an imperative for global brands to take stock of their contributions to sustainable development. Ethical Corporation’s second annual State of Responsible Business report attempts to do just that.

This year’s report tracks the progress that has been made since our first survey, conducted last year to paint a comprehensive picture of how sustainability is being practiced by a wide range of organizations and stakeholders around the world.

Our second survey, conducted earlier this year, received responses from more than 2,000 members of our corporate social responsibility community, with respondents from a range of businesses, NGOs, government and academic backgrounds. They answered a series of questions concerning the meaning of sustainability to their organizations, the way sustainability is organized throughout their businesses, and their verdict on some of the most important talking points around responsible business practice.

From Theory to Practice

The main lesson that can be taken from this year’s State of Responsible Business report is that the value of incorporating responsible business practice and sustainability into all sides of the business is increasingly recognised, accepted, and acted upon. Those first two points – recognition and acceptance of the business case for sustainability – shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise: as our results show, there are very few people left in the world of corporate responsibility and sustainability who remain unsold on the idea. What is especially welcome, though, is the finding that a growing number of businesses are indicating that they are moving beyond the theory and putting business responsibility into practice, and with commendable success.

Among respondents who work in companies, 71% say that their CEO is convinced of the value of sustainability – three percentage points higher than in our 2015 survey – and only 7% say this wasn’t the case (the remaining 22% were unsure). An even higher proportion, 86%, say sustainability is increasingly becoming an important part of their companies’ overall business strategy, although this does represent a three percentage point fall from last year.

Asked to what extent sustainability has been embedded across the entire business, 51% of corporate respondents say sustainability is driving revenue for their business, and 70% say it is driving savings. Furthermore, 78.5% say that their corporate sustainability strategy is having an impact on internal structures, departmental organization and responsibilities, an increase of more than 5 points from our 2015 report.

This impact is most keenly felt in the marketing and communications, and supply chain and procurement departments, with 74% claiming that their sustainability strategy directly affects these departments. However, when asked if they felt confident they were accurately measuring the impact and return-on-investment of their sustainability activities, fewer than half of our corporate respondents agreed, suggesting that businesses have yet to establish foolproof ways of determining exactly how, where and why sustainability is transforming the way the entire business operates.

Baked In?

Two questions gauged whether respondents believe their business is getting the most out of sustainability, and while there has been a shift in the right direction from last year, there is great scope for improvement in the future. Just over half (51%) now say that sustainability activity is integrated tightly enough into their broader business strategy (up from 42%), while 31% claim that their company is leveraging the potential of sustainability as fully as possible (up from 21%).

For businesses to go further on sustainability, they will be looking closely at the issues that present the greatest opportunities. Our survey asked respondents to identify areas that hold the greatest potential for 2016, and over the next five years. Using sustainability as a source of competitive advantage was the single biggest opportunity area, identified by 22% for the year ahead and 34% over the next five years. Other topics cited included the act of embedding sustainability throughout the business, harnessing the potential of sustainable innovation, creating a culture of sustainability and communicating success in sustainable projects.

For corporate sustainability teams to make the most of these opportunities and hit their targets, though, they will need all the resources and backing they can get. We asked our respondents about their sustainability teams’ budget outlooks for the year ahead: 14% of corporate respondents told us that their company has an annual sustainability budget in excess of $1m, with 8% having a budget of $2.5m or more. However, only 29% say they expect their sustainability budget to increase over 2016, while 32% expected it to either shrink or remain static (39% either didn’t know or declined to say). This is down slightly from last year, when 33% expected their budgets to rise through 2015.

However, the rises were expected to be higher this year, with 50% of respondents saying their team was in line for an increase in excess of 5% (up from 43% in 2015), and more than 4% saying their department was due to receive an increase of more than 100%, compared with none last year.

Global Events

One of the core underlying factors behind many of the issues studied throughout our survey – from CEO engagement to budget allocation and the overall influence of sustainability on the rest of the business – has been the way in which major global events have put sustainability in the spotlight. The COP21 climate change summit in Paris last December, which resulted in the landmark Paris Agreement, and the launch of the SDGs have been two of the most important events, and in this year’s survey we asked a few specific questions to track the impact that they have had on corporate sustainability teams.

All in all, 46% of corporate respondents told us that their organization would be engaging in the SDGs, with 36% saying they wouldn’t and 18% unsure. Out of those that said they would be engaging in the goals as a whole, 63% said they would engage specifically in SDG goal 13 (climate action) while other high priorities included goal 8 (decent work and economic growth), attracting 52% engagement; goal 12 (responsible consumption and production), with 51% engagement; and goal 9 (industry, innovation and infrastructure), with 49% engagement.

Asked to judge the success of the COP21 summit, there was a mixed reception, with just under half (44% of all respondents and 49% of corporate respondents) agreeing that the summit managed to deliver an agreement that will truly tackle the risk posed by climate change, and around 30% saying they disagreed. Respondents from Europe and North America were the least likely to give the agreement a positive assessment, while those from Asia, Africa and Latin America were more prepared to give the Paris deal the thumbs-up.

Impact of Paris

We also asked our respondents an open-ended question about how the Paris agreement would impact their roles as sustainability professionals. For many, the context and certainty that an official Paris Agreement brings will help increase the number of opportunities for them and their sustainability teams, as businesses compete and collaborate to bring about low-carbon innovation. Respondents also cited the role that the Paris summit played in boosting awareness of climate change among key stakeholder groups, including among CEOs who would subsequently be more likely to be engaged in sustainability, both as an issue and as a core side of the business they lead. However, some respondents suggest that the deal will have little bearing on their organization’s sustainability and climate-related activities, either because they are committed to these initiatives already or because the scope of their company’s ambition goes far beyond that written into the Paris Agreement.

The responses from the State of Responsible Business 2016 report back up and build on those that we received last year: Organizations and businesses are increasingly seeing the value of being both responsible and sustainable in the way that they conduct business, and this is feeding into a greater and more positive influence by sustainability teams on the central strategy of the business. However, while corporate social responsibility and sustainability are increasingly ingrained in mainstream business, there is also plenty of evidence to suggest that there’s a long way to go yet. A majority of corporate respondents say they are still struggling to accurately measure the ROI of sustainability activities, or to make full use of the opportunities presented by sustainability, while there is still room for improvement on areas such as communication channels between corporate social responsibility and sustainability teams and their CEOs, marketing and communications teams, and indeed their customers.

Nevertheless, there has unquestionably been progress on a number of critical issues, and the key now will be to see if these positive trends continue in the months and years ahead.

Solar Energy Could Meet up to 13% of Global Power Needs by 2030

Dramatic cost reductions could drive sharp increase in global solar PV capacity

 

A New Report from International Renewable Energy Agency

The share of global electricity generated by solar photovoltaics (PV) could increase from 2 per cent today to as much as 13 per cent by 2030, according to a new report from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). Released in late June 2016 at InterSolar Europe, Letting in the Light: How Solar Photovoltaics Will Revolutionize the Electricity System finds the solar industry is poised for massive expansion, driven primarily by cost reductions. It estimates that solar PV capacity could reach between 1,760 and 2,500 gigawatts (GW) by 2030, up from 227 GW today.

“Recent analysis from IRENA finds that cost reductions for solar and wind will continue into the future, with further declines of up to 59 per cent possible for solar PV in the next ten years,” said IRENA Director-General Adnan Z. Amin. “This comprehensive overview of the solar industry finds that these cost reductions, in combination with other enabling factors, can create a dramatic expansion of solar power globally. The renewable energy transition is well underway, with solar playing a central role.”

Focusing on technology, economics, applications, infrastructure, policy and impacts, the report gives an overview of the global solar PV industry and its prospects for the future. It includes data and statistics on:

Capacity: Solar PV is the most widely owned electricity source in the world in terms of number of installations, and its uptake is accelerating. It accounted for 20 per cent of all new power generation capacity in 2015. In the last five years, global installed capacity has grown from 40 GW to 227 GW. By comparison, the entire generation capacity of Africa is 175 GW.

Costs: Solar PV regularly costs just 5 to 10 US cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh) in Europe, China, India, South Africa and the United States. In 2015, record low prices were set in the United Arab Emirates (5.84 cents/kWh), Peru (4.8 cents/kWh) and Mexico (4.8 cents/kWh). In May 2016, a solar PV auction in Dubai attracted a bid of 3 cents/kWh. These record lows indicate a continued trend and potential for further cost reduction.

Investment: Solar PV now represents more than half of all investment in the renewable energy sector. In 2015, global investment reached USD 67 billion for rooftop solar PV, USD 92 billion for utility-scale systems, and USD 267 million for off-grid applications.

Jobs: The solar PV value chain today employs 2.8 million people in manufacturing, installation and maintenance, the largest number of any renewable energy.

Environment: Solar PV generation has already reduced carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by up to 300 million tons per year. This can increase to up to three gigatons of CO2 per year in 2030.

“World electricity demand is expected to grow by more than 50 per cent by 2030, mostly in developing and emerging economies,” said Mr. Amin. “To meet this demand while also realizing global development and sustainability goals, governments must implement policies that enable solar to achieve its full potential.”

Reaching a 13 per cent share of global electricity by 2030 will require average annual capacity additions to more than double for the next 14 years. The report highlights five recommendations that can help achieve this increase including: updated policies based on the latest innovations; government support of continued research and development activities; creation of a global standards framework; market structure changes; and the adoption of enabling technologies like smart grids and storage.

Letting in the Light is the third solar-focused publication released by IRENA this summer. Last week, IRENA released The Power to Change, which predicts that average costs for electricity generated by solar and wind technologies could decrease by between 26 and 59 per cent by 2025. Earlier this week, IRENA released End-of-Life Management: Solar Photovoltaic, which found that the technical potential of materials recovered from retired solar PV panels could exceed USD 15 billion by 2050, presenting a compelling business opportunity.

 

About the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA)

IRENA is mandated to be the global hub for renewable energy cooperation and information exchange by 148 Members (147 States and the European Union). Roughly 28 additional countries are in the accession process and actively engaged. IRENA promotes the widespread adoption and sustainable use of all forms of renewable energy, in the pursuit of sustainable development, energy access, energy security and low-carbon economic growth and prosperity. More information at- www.irena.org

Contact Person:
Hillary McBride, Communications Officer, IRENA, hmcbride@irena.org

John Hancock Investments launches two ESG funds

Trillium Asset Management to manage John Hancock ESG All Cap Core Fund and John Hancock ESG Large Cap Core Fund

John Hancock Investments announced in early June 2016 the addition of two new funds focused on integrating environmental, social, and governance (ESG) issues with fundamental stock research. John Hancock ESG All Cap Core Fund and John Hancock ESG Large Cap Core Fund are both managed by Trillium Asset Management, LLC, the country’s oldest investment advisor exclusively focused on sustainable and responsible investing.

The announcement follows the observance of World Environment Day, which is promoted annually by the United Nations Environment Programme and is intended to raise global awareness of the need to take positive environmental action to protect nature and the planet.

“This is an exciting new direction for John Hancock Investments,” said Andrew G. Arnott, president and CEO. “While younger investors have traditionally been one of the driving forces behind the growth in ESG funds, investors of all ages are now recognizing how ESG funds can play an important role in their portfolios. We’re proud to be able to offer portfolios that seek to influence positive change by investing in companies that meet a high bar for environmental, social, and governance characteristics. We are also pleased to be working with Trillium Asset Management in this new venture, as the firm has been at the forefront of socially responsible investing for nearly 35 years.”

Trillium CEO Matthew W. Patsky, CFA, added, “We are very excited to combine the trusted brand of John Hancock Investments with our history and expertise in ESG investing. John Hancock Investments has one of the most stringent due diligence processes in the industry, and we are proud to have been selected as the manager for these funds.”

The new ESG portfolios offer a well-diversified core exposure. John Hancock ESG Large Cap Core Fund invests predominantly in large-capitalization companies, while John Hancock ESG All Cap Core Fund invests in companies across the market capitalization spectrum. Trillium seeks out companies with high-quality characteristics from financial, strategic, and ESG points of view, such as strong workplace practices, product safety, and environmental protection. Neither fund will include companies with material exposure to agricultural biotechnology, coal mining, hard rock mining, nuclear power, tar sands, tobacco, or weapons/firearms, nor will they include companies with major recent or ongoing controversies related to animal welfare, the environment, corporate governance, human rights, product safety, or workplace practices.

Trillium Asset Management, LLC is an employee-owned firm founded in 1982, and has a long history of using its voice as a shareholder to push America’s largest companies to improve on key issues of ESG materiality, an approach that will be reflected in the new funds. The portfolio management team for the John Hancock Investments ESG funds includes Cheryl I. Smith, Ph.D., CFA, managing partner, economist, and investment manager; Elizabeth R. Levy, CFA, senior vice president, portfolio manager, and research analyst; and Stephanie R. Leighton, CFA, partner, portfolio manager, and research analyst.

John Hancock ESG All Cap Core Fund is available in the following share classes: Class A: JHKAX; Class C: JHKCX; Class I: JHKIX; and Class R6: JHKRX.

John Hancock ESG Large Cap Core Fund is available in the following share classes: Class A: JHJAX; Class C: JHJCX; Class I: JHJIX; and Class R6: JHJRX.

The new ESG funds are the latest product offerings from John Hancock Investments, which earlier this year launched John Hancock Global Focused Strategies Fund, managed by Standard Life Investments; three target-date 2060 retirement funds; and five new sector exchange-traded funds, with underlying indexes designed by Dimensional Fund Advisors.

A fund’s investment objectives, risks, charges, and expenses should be considered carefully before investing. The prospectus contains this and other important information about the fund. To obtain a prospectus, contact your financial professional, call John Hancock Investments at 800-225-5291, or visit www.jhinvestments.com . Please read the prospectus carefully before investing or sending money.

 

About John Hancock Investments

John Hancock has helped individuals and institutions build and protect wealth since 1862. Today, we are one of America’s strongest and most-recognized brands. As a manager of managers, John Hancock Investments searches the world to find proven portfolio teams with specialized expertise for every fund we offer, then we apply vigorous investment oversight to ensure they continue to meet our uncompromising standards and serve the best interests of our shareholders. Our unique approach to asset management has led to a diverse set of investments deeply rooted in investor needs, along with strong risk-adjusted returns across asset classes.

About John Hancock Financial and Manulife

John Hancock Financial is a division of Manulife, a leading Canada-based financial services group with principal operations in Asia, Canada, and the United States. Operating as Manulife in Canada and Asia, and primarily as John Hancock in the United States, our group of companies offers clients a diverse range of financial protection products and wealth management services through its extensive network of employees, agents, and distribution partners. Assets under management and administration by Manulife and its subsidiaries were $904 billion (US $697 billion) as of March 31, 2016. Manulife Financial Corporation trades as MFC on the TSX, NYSE, and PSE, and under 945 on the SEHK. Manulife can be found at manulife.com.

The John Hancock unit, through its insurance companies, comprises one of the largest life insurers in the United States. John Hancock offers and administers a broad range of financial products, including life insurance, annuities, investments, 401(k) plans, long-term care insurance, college savings, and other forms of business insurance. Additional information about John Hancock may be found at www.johnhancock.com

Investing involves risks, including the potential loss of principal. There is no guarantee that a fund’s investment strategies will be successful. Large company stocks could fall out of favor. The stock prices of midsize and small companies can change more frequently and dramatically than those of large companies. Foreign investing, especially in emerging markets, has additional risks, such as currency and market volatility and political and social instability. A portfolio concentrated in one sector or that holds a limited number of securities may fluctuate more than a diversified portfolio. Hedging and other strategic transactions may increase volatility and result in losses if not successful. Illiquid securities may be difficult to sell at a price approximating their value. The fund’s ESG policy could cause it to perform differently than similar funds that do not have such a policy. Please see the fund’s prospectus for additional risks.

This release was originally published by John Hancock Investments which is solely responsible for its content.

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