Category: May 2014 – How Nature Will Influence Investing

Everence and Praxis purchase a Green Bond through Toyota Financial Services

 

Everence and the Praxis Intermediate Income Fund have recently purchased a total of $3.5 million in the auto industry’s first-ever asset-backed Green Bond through Toyota Financial Services.

Issued in March 2014, the $1.75 billion Toyota Financial Services Green Bond offering (which was increased from its original $1.25 billion due to strong investor demand) is a momentous offering in the asset-backed securities market, as the first green bond from an auto finance company. Proceeds of the bond will fund new retail finance contracts and lease contracts for qualified Toyota and Lexus hybrid or alternative fuel powertrain vehicles.

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“This green bond is really the first of its kind for the auto industry, helping people get loans for energy efficient vehicles,” explained Benjamin Bailey, Co-Manager of the Praxis Intermediate Income Fund. “It fits well into our goal to purchase investments that make both social and financial sense, and commitment to support renewable energy projects.”

“At Everence and Praxis, we are just as concerned about the impact our investments have on others as we are about the financial returns we receive,” said David Gautsche, President of Praxis Mutual Funds. “We’re excited about this inaugural asset-backed green bond through Toyota Financial Services, and are glad to be part of it.”

Everence and Praxis Mutual Funds have long been leaders in green bond investments. The Praxis Intermediate Income Fund has a history of purchasing bonds that make a social impact. In 2009, the Praxis Intermediate Income Fund became one of the first socially responsible investors to purchase a U.S. dollar World Bank green bond.

To-date, high social impact investments now make up more than 10 percent of the Praxis Intermediate Income Fund. Beyond auto industry asset-backed securities, market rate investments also include bonds in solar and wind installations, vaccines, medical research and community infrastructure. The Fund’s high social impact investments also include community development investments, which benefit disadvantaged communities in the U.S. and around the world.

About Praxis Mutual Funds and Everence Financial

Praxis Mutual Funds, advised by Everence Capital Management, is a leading faith-based, socially responsible family of mutual funds designed to help people and groups integrate their finances with faith values. To learn more, visit www.praxismutualfunds.com

Everence helps individuals, organizations and congregations integrate finances with faith through a national team of advisors and representatives. Everence offers banking, insurance and financial services with community benefits and stewardship education. To learn more, visit everence.com or call (800) 348-7468.

Bond funds will tend to experience smaller fluctuations in value than stock funds. However, investors in any bond fund should anticipate fluctuations in price, especially for longer-term issues and in environments of rising interest rates.

As of March 31, 2014, the Praxis Intermediate Income Fund had invested 0.52 percent of its assets in Toyota Auto Receives Owner Trust 2014-A A3. Fund holdings are subject to change. To obtain holdings as of the most previous quarter, visit www.praxismutualfunds.com

Consider the fund’s investment objectives, risks and charges and expenses carefully before you invest. The fund’s prospectus and summary prospectus contain this and other information. Call (800) 977-2947 or visit www.praxismutualfunds.com for a prospectus, which you should read carefully before you invest. Praxis Mutual Funds are advised by Everence Capital Management and distributed through FINRA member BHIL Distributors Inc. Investment products offered are not FDIC insured, may lose value and have no bank guarantee.

B Corp Honors 92 Businesses as ‘Best for the World’ – Creating Most Overall Positive Social and Environmental Impact

The Impact Economy is Global and Diverse: Companies From 15 Countries and 31 Industries Recognized As Leaders in Redefining Success in Business

 

Recently, 92 companies worldwide were recognized for creating the most positive overall social and environmental impact by the nonprofit B Lab with the release of the third annual ‘B Corp Best for the World’ list. The ‘B Corp Best for the World’ list honors businesses that earned an overall score in the top 10% of all Certified B Corporations on the B Impact Assessment, a rigorous and comprehensive assessment of a company’s impact on its workers, community, and the environment. Honorees were recognized among micro, small, and mid-sized businesses.

Highlighted companies include CDI Lan, a Brazilian education and training company generating income and employability in low income communities through internet cafes, d.light design, a manufacturer and distributor of solar lighting and power products providing access to reliable, affordable, renewable energy for nearly 30 million people in 60 countries, and Sunrise Banks, a Minnesota community bank supporting affordable housing, small business development, and not-for-profits.

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The ‘Best for the World’ companies come from 31 different industries such as manufacturing, telecommunications, pharmaceuticals and real estate. A majority operate in a service industry, including 17 honorees in financial services and 15 in environmental consulting. 30% of honorees are based outside the US, with 15 companies operating in emerging markets such as Afghanistan, Kenya and Colombia. (Full list of honorees here – http://bestfortheworld.bcorporation.net )

“Employees, consumers, investors, and policy makers increasingly want to support companies that create a positive impact in the world and the Best for the World honorees are the best of the best,” said Jay Coen Gilbert, co-founder of B Lab, the nonprofit organization that certifies B Corporations and governs the independent third party standard used to generate the comparable assessment of corporate impact. “It’s particularly inspiring that 21% of the 2014 honorees are first time winners but long time B Corps. They’re winning the race to the top.”

Each honored company is a Certified B Corporation. They use the power of business to solve social and environmental problems and have met rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency. Today there are over 970 certified B Corporations, across 60 industries and 32 countries, unified by one common goal: to redefine success in business.

B Lab will release separate lists recognizing the companies ‘Best for the Environment’ (environmental impact), ‘Best for the Community’ (community impact), and ‘Best for Workers’ (employee impact) throughout 2014.

Full release available here- http://bit.ly/OtYqV8

Contact Information:

Katie Kerr, B Lab /  email- katie@bcorporation.net

Community Capital Management Announces New Liquid, Alternative Mutual Fund

New Fund Targets Risk-Averse Investors Seeking Income and Diversification from Equity Income and Fixed Income Portfolios

 

Community Capital Management, Inc. (CCM), recently announced the availability of its new open ended, mutual fund – the CCM Alternative Income Fund (Ticker: CCMNX) – a multi-strategy fund combining absolute-return-oriented and income-producing strategies.

“CCMNX was specifically created for investors seeking an income source that actively hedges equity and fixed income market exposures,” said David Sand, chief investment strategist at CCM and a portfolio manager of CCMNX. “While researching the space, we noticed plenty of long only bond, dividend and balanced funds that do not hedge; however, the selection of absolute return, income oriented funds was much smaller.”

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CCMNX was launched in May 2013 in an effort to meet conservative yield conscious investors’ demands. As of 3/17/14, the 30-day SEC Yield for CCMNX was 3.80% and as of 12/31/13, its correlation (monthly since inception: 5/31/13) to the S&P 500 and Barclays Aggregate Bond Index was low at 0.01 and negative 0.09, respectively.

For more information, please visit https://www.ccminvests.com/

“We believe CCMNX should be considered by risk-averse investors who seek a source of income and diversification (or low beta and low correlation) to equity and fixed income markets,” said Andrew Cowen, managing member, Badge Investment Partners LLC, sub-adviser to CCMNX. “The Fund is designed to be agnostic to interest rate or equity market movements and should be considered as a part of investors’ strategic asset allocation.”

In keeping with CCM’s expertise in impact and environmental, social, and governance (ESG) investing, CCMNX also incorporates these features and publishes a quarterly ESG report for investors. For long positions in equity securities, CCM examines holdings quarterly for their standing in areas of corporate ESG risk and performance. For fixed income, a significant portion of the Fund’s holdings provide financing for a variety of projects meeting ESG criteria.

CCMNX is the second fund managed by CCM. It is currently available on a variety of platforms including Charles Schwab, NFS/Fidelity, Envestnet, Pershing, FolioFN, and TD Ameritrade.

The minimum investment is $100,000, which may be waived in certain circumstances.

About Community Capital Management, Inc.

Community Capital Management, Inc. (CCM) is an independently-owned, client-focused, registered investment adviser.  Headquartered in Fort Lauderdale, Florida with offices in Charlotte, North Carolina and Boston, Massachusetts, the firm was founded in 1998 and currently manages approximately $2 billion in assets as of 12/31/13. CCM’s flagship core fixed impact investing strategy is available as a separate account or via a mutual fund (CRA Qualified Investment Fund). Other products managed by CCM include the CCM Alternative Income Fund and separate account strategies in tax-exempt fixed income impact investing and liability-driven investing. For more information, please visit www.ccmfixedincome.com

About Badge Investment Partners LLC

Badge Investment Partners LLC (Badge) is a registered investment adviser and was founded in 2013. Badge offers extensive experience investing across the capital structure and in analyzing, trading and investing in both equity and credit of companies across multiple industries. Badge currently serves as sub-advisor to the CCM Alternative Income Fund overseeing and managing the equity long/short and high yield credit sectors of the Fund.  For more information, please visit www.badgecapital.com

As of 12/31/13, the CCM Alternative Income Fund returned 2.31% (since inception: 5/31/13).  Performance quoted is past performance and does not guarantee future results.  Current performance may be lower or higher than the performance data quoted.  An investor’s investment return and principal value will fluctuate so that your shares, when redeemed, may be worth more or less than your initial cost. To obtain the most recent month-end standardized performance, call 877-272-1977. The unsubsidized 30-day SEC yield is 3.69% (2/28/14). The total annual operating expenses are 1.99%.  The net expense ratio is 1.60%. Waivers are contractual and in effect until 9/30/14. Beta: the measure of a portfolio’s volatility.

Community Capital Management, Inc. is a Florida-based investment adviser registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission under the Investment Advisers Act of 1940.

The CCM Alternative Income Fund (formerly the CCM Active Income Fund) is distributed by SEI Investments Distribution Co. (SIDCo), 1 Freedom Valley Dr., Oaks, PA 19456. SIDCo is not affiliated with Community Capital Management or Badge Investment Partners LLC. Investing involves risk, including possible loss of principal. Bonds and bond funds will decrease in value as interest rates rise. High yield bonds involve greater risks of default or downgrade and are more volatile than investment grade securities, due to the speculative nature of their investments. The Fund uses investment techniques that are different from the risks ordinarily associated with equity investments. Such techniques and strategies include hedging risks, merger arbitrage risks, derivative risks, short sale risks, leverage risks, commodities risk, and foreign investment risks, which may increase volatility and may increase costs and lower performance. Commodities can be highly volatile and the use of leverage may accelerate the velocity of potential losses.

Carefully consider the Fund’s investment objectives, risks, charges, and expenses. This and other information can be found in the Fund’s prospectus, which can be obtained by calling 866-202-3573. Please read it carefully before investing.

Article Source: CCM

Investors Publish Statement of Principles and Recommended Corporate Practices to Promote Global Health

 

New Technologies and Business Models like the Medicines Patent Pool that Challenge Conventional Pricing, R & D and Intellectual Property Paradigms Seen as Critical if Pharmaceutical Industry is to Meet Health Care Needs in Developing and Emerging Markets

On April 7th, 2014 in commemoration of World Health Day 2014, members of the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR) released their Statement of Principles and Recommended Corporate Practices to Promote Global Health (http://bit.ly/OtTQpL ). The document, which is endorsed by over 80 organizations, is an articulation of ICCR members’ views regarding the social responsibilities of the pharmaceutical sector to address the human right to health by promoting the access, availability, affordability, and infrastructure required to deliver life-saving medicines where they are most needed.

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ICCR (www.iccr.org ) members are faith- and mission-based investors who have been engaging global pharmaceutical companies to redress inequities in the availability of medicines for some of the world’s most intractable and deadly diseases such as HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis. Because many ICCR members have global ministries and witness firsthand the undue disease burden borne by the poorest and most vulnerable communities, their dialogues with drug companies focus on finding new solutions to address these inequities.

Said Sr. Barbara Aires of the Sisters of Charity of Saint Elizabeth, New Jersey, “We convened industry roundtables in 2008 and again in 2011 with leaders of the pharmaceutical industry and other key stakeholders to identify barriers and to foster the social innovations that will increase access. Because we view health care as an immutable human right, our interest is in making sure that the people most impacted by disease are at the top of the list and our principles statement outlines how we think drug companies can do their part to make that happen.”

The Medicines Patent Pool (MPP), a model that encourages the sharing of HIV/AIDS formulations to facilitate their manufacture by generics companies is a good example of a social innovation with the potential for profound global impact.  Formed in 2010 through funding from UNITAID, the MPP has been endorsed by the World Health Organization, the UN High Level Meeting on AIDS, and the Group of 8 as a promising approach to improve access to HIV medicines.

Discussing their recently announced licensing agreement with the MPP on a pediatric HIV/AIDS formulation, Dominique Limet, CEO of ViiV Healthcare said, “Our new collaborations prioritise dolutegravir access for millions of children and adults with HIV, and represent another step in our ongoing commitment to improving access and delivering innovation in the areas of highest unmet need. We recognise that dialogue and partnerships are critical to encourage political commitment to accelerating access to medicines like dolutegravir. The work of the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility has been highly valued in bringing stakeholders together.”

Lauren Compere of Boston Common Asset Management said, “Boston Common commends GlaxoSmithKline and ViiV in taking a further step to advance alternative R&D models through its latest partnership with the Medicines Patent Pool.  These initiatives are essential in moving the sector towards a more sustainable business model that enhances innovation, opens access to new markets, and promotes the human right to health and best exemplify the leadership we describe in our Global Health Principles.”

Observed Cathy Rowan of CHE Trinity Health, “As this year’s World Health Day theme underscores, current pharmaceutical models fail to close gaps in the delivery of preventive medicines for neglected tropical diseases. The same holds true for other diseases like TB, AIDS and tuberculosis that are more prevalent in poorer nations. Last year the World Health Assembly approved a new initiative to find and finance the development of drugs and other health technologies for diseases that are disproportionately affecting developing countries. Our ongoing work with the drug companies we hold is to encourage them to participate in creative initiatives to increase access.”

ICCR Global Health Principles

Access & Affordability:  Global health business models must promote access to health for all, and be equitable and affordable, regardless of one’s country or resources.

Innovative Research & Development Models:  Companies must develop new models that address critical global health needs, including non-communicable diseases, HIV/TB/malaria and neglected tropical diseases that impact the most vulnerable.

Ethical Business Practices:  Companies must develop, implement, and monitor a  global code of conduct that incorporates responsible marketing practices, anti-bribery corruption measures, fair clinical trials, and robust oversight of supply chain management programs.

Community Investment:  Pharmaceutical companies working with communities, the private sector and other stakeholders must find solutions to overcome barriers to improving a country’s health system infrastructure and supply chain distribution.

Partnerships & Collaboration:  Companies must increase collaboration within the pharmaceutical industry and with other stakeholders to share knowledge and resources to develop and implement access to health initiatives.

Transparency & Disclosure:  Companies must increase transparency and disclosure on access strategies, health outcomes, public policy positions and lobbying activities in order to demonstrate responsible corporate citizenship and enable investors and other stakeholders to hold companies accountable.

Article Source: ICCR

Pax MSCI International ESG Index Fund Invests in Sustainability Leaders

New fund provides a passively-managed investment option for international investors

 

Recently Pax World Management LLC, investment adviser to Pax World Funds, announced the launch of the Pax MSCI International ESG Index Fund (PXINX), a passively-managed fund which seeks investment returns that closely correspond to the price and yield performance, before fees and expenses, of the MSCI Europe Australasia Far East (EAFE) ESG Index (the Index).[1]  The Index consists of equity securities of issuers organized or operating in developed market countries around the world excluding the U.S. and Canada that have high sustainability or ESG ratings relative to their sector and industry group peers, as rated by MSCI ESG Research. The Pax MSCI International ESG Index Fund is the only mutual fund distributed in the U.S. that tracks the performance of the Index.

The Pax World International Fund (PXINX) and the Pax MSCI EAFE ESG Index ETF (EAPS) were recently merged to create the Pax MSCI International ESG Index Fund. The new fund’s Institutional Class shares will charge a unified management fee and total expense ratio of 0.55%. (Individual Investor Class and Class R shares each will charge a distribution fee that will increase the total expense ratio for these share classes to 0.80% and 1.05%, respectively.)

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“The Pax MSCI International ESG Index Fund provides investors a passively-managed investment option that provides international exposure by investing in the same stock universe as the MSCI EAFE ESG Index, which has outperformed the MSCI EAFE Index since its launch on October 1, 2007,” said Pax World President and Chief Executive Officer Joe Keefe. Comparative performance for the Index and the MSCI EAFE Index is shown below.

Index Performance

Gross Returns (%) (February 28, 2014)(Annualized)
MSCI EAFE ESG

1 Year                                    19.84
3 Year                                     8.21
5 Year                                    19.18
Since  10/1/07                       1.12

MSCI EAFE

1 Year                                    19.78
3 Year                                     7.12
5 Year                                    18.14
Since  10/1/07                       0.66
Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Index performance is not necessarily representative of fund performance.

About Pax World Management LLC

Pax World is a leader in sustainable investing, the full integration of environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors into investment analysis, security selection, portfolio construction and risk management. Pax World combines rigorous ESG analysis with equally rigorous financial analysis in seeking to identify better-managed, industry leading companies that meet positive corporate responsibility standards, have a clear vision for managing risk, and are focused on delivering long-term value to shareholders. Pax World launched the first socially responsible mutual fund in 1971 and today offers a family of mutual funds including ESG Managers® Portfolios, multi-manager asset allocation portfolios powered by Morningstar Associates. For more information, visit www.paxworld.com

About MSCI

MSCI is a leading provider of investment decision support tools to investors globally, including asset managers, banks, hedge funds and pension funds. MSCI products and services include indices, portfolio risk and performance analytics, and governance tools.

MSCI designs and calculates global equity indices, which, over the last 40 years, have become the most widely used global equity benchmarks by institutional investors. MSCI’s global equity benchmark indices contribute to the investment process by serving as relevant performance benchmarks and effective research tools, and as the basis for various investment vehicles. For more information, visit www.msci.com

Article Note

[1]  The fund described herein is indexed to an MSCI index. The fund referred to herein is not sponsored, endorsed, or promoted by MSCI or its affiliates, and MSCI and its affiliates bear no liability with respect to any such fund or any index on which such fund is based. The MSCI EAFE ESG Index is designed to include equity securities of issuers organized or operating in Europe, Australasia and the Far East that have high environmental, social and governance (ESG) ratings relative to their peers as rated by MSCI ESG Research annually. The MSCI EAFE ESG Index includes or utilizes data, ratings, analysis, reports, analytics or other information or materials from MSCI’s ESG Research Group within Institutional Shareholder Services Inc., an indirect wholly-owned subsidiaries of MSCI. One cannot invest directly in an index.

RISKS: Equity investments are subject to market fluctuations, the fund’s share price can fall because of weakness in the broad market, a particular industry, or specific holdings. International investments involve risk of capital loss from unfavorable fluctuations in currency values, differences in generally accepted accounting principles, economic or political instability in other nations or increased volatility and lower trading volume. Investments involve risk, including potential loss of principal. Stocks will fluctuate in response to factors that may affect a single company, industry, sector, or the market as a whole and may perform worse than the market. Funds that emphasize investments in smaller companies generally will experience greater price volatility.

You should consider a fund’s investment objectives, risks and charges and expenses carefully before investing. For this and other important information, please obtain a fund prospectus by calling 800.767.1729 or visiting www.paxworld.com . Please read it carefully before investing. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

On 3/31/2014 Pax World International Fund and Pax MSCI EAFE ESG Index ETF merged into the Pax MSCI International ESG Index Fund (the Fund), a passively managed index fund which seeks investment returns that closely correspond to the price and yield performance, before fees and expenses, of the MSCI EAFE ESG Index. Based on the similarity of the Fund to Pax MSCI EAFE ESG Index ETF, Pax MSCI EAFE ESG Index ETF (the Predecessor Fund) is treated as the survivor of the mergers for accounting and performance reporting purposes. Accordingly, all performance and other information shown for the Fund for periods prior to 3/31/2014 is that of the Predecessor Fund.

Distributor: ALPS Distributors, Inc., Member FINRA.

Neither Pax World Management LLC or ALPS Distributors, Inc., are affiliated with MSCI Inc., MSCI ESG Research or Morningstar Associates, LLC.

Separately managed accounts and related advisory services are provided by Pax World Management LLC, a federally registered investment adviser. ALPS Distributors, Inc. is not the distributor for Pax World’s separately managed accounts.

Article Source: Pax World

Calvert Global Water Fund Wins 2014 Lipper Fund Award

Fund Outperforms Its Peers for 3-Year Period

 

Calvert Investments recently announced that the Calvert Global Water Fund (CFWYX) received a 2014 Lipper Fund Award acknowledging consistent, strong, risk-adjusted performance relative to its peers.

The Calvert Global Water Fund (Y shares) was named the best-performing fund among 105 funds in the Global Natural Resources Funds classification for the 3-year period ended December 31, 2013, by Lipper at a recent New York City awards ceremony.

“Calvert Global Water Fund is designed to access one of the most intriguing long-term investment themes of our time,” noted Natalie Trunow, Chief Investment Officer of Equities for Calvert Investment Management, Inc., going on to characterize the product as “a high conviction portfolio that seeks to capture investment opportunities in the water sector and delivers consistent, less correlated and less cyclical returns across different market cycles.”

The Calvert Global Water Fund is sub-advised by Kleinwort Benson Investors International Ltd (KBI), a global pioneer in environmental investing who is now in its 14th year of managing water equities. Co-portfolio managers Matt Sheldon and Catherine Ryan lead the team responsible for the day-to-day management of the portfolio.

“Water is our most vital natural resource and one without substitute,” said Matt Sheldon. “Demand for water-related solutions to address global growth as well as fix existing aging infrastructure is ongoing, creating above-average growth potential over the long term. It is estimated that water infrastructure alone will require $22 trillion globally over the next several decades.”

The Calvert Global Water Fund is an actively managed all-capitalization fund designed to achieve strong long-term returns by investing in water solutions posed by sustainability challenges. The companies in the portfolio must also meet strict environmental, social, and governance (ESG) criteria. Portfolio holdings’ main businesses are in the water sector or are significantly involved in water-related services or technologies. The Fund seeks to deliver a new source of alpha to a global equity allocation in a risk efficient manner.

“Winning this award means a lot to our team,” said Ms. Ryan. “While we’ve clearly seen opportunities in new and emerging water stocks, we are investing in companies that have a long history of providing diverse water solutions. The staying power of these companies is a tribute to their business models, their ability to innovate and the demand for their products, all of which we expect to continue well into the future.”

Ms. Ryan explained that the Fund seeks to invest in a wide range of companies and other enterprises that demonstrate commitment toward addressing key corporate responsibility and sustainability challenges, allowing investors the opportunity to apply their capital toward sustainable water-related technologies, services, and solutions.

Calvert Global Water Fund – Performance
Details – www.calvert.com/fundprofile.html?fund=973&fundOwner=&t=2

Average Annual Total Returns for period ending 12/31/2014
1 Year  
A Shares (4.75% Sales Charge)   22.63%
A Shares (No Sales Charge) 28.72% 
Y Shares (No Sales Charge)   29.07% 
S-Network Global Water Index Total Return 28.32%
Global Natural Resources Funds Index  13.00%
   
3 Years  
A Shares (4.75% Sales Charge)   11.97%
A Shares (No Sales Charge) 13.81%
Y Shares (No Sales Charge)  14.11%
S-Network Global Water Index Total Return 11.26%
Global Natural Resources Funds Index  -1.10%
   
5 Years      
A Shares (4.75% Sales Charge)   15.48%
A Shares (No Sales Charge) 16.62%
Y Shares (No Sales Charge)  16.88%
S-Network Global Water Index Total Return 15.19%
Global Natural Resources Funds Index  12.48%
   
Since Inception (9/30/2008)  
A Shares (4.75% Sales Charge)   9.93%
A Shares (No Sales Charge) 10.96%
Y Shares (No Sales Charge)  11.16%
S-Network Global Water Index Total Return 10.02%
Global Natural Resources Funds Index  2.64%
   
   

See the updated average annual total returns for the Calvert Global Water Fund for the period ending 3/31/2014 here –

www.calvert.com/fundprofile.html?fund=973&fundOwner=&t=2

Details

A Shares Gross Expense Ratio: 1.99%. Net Expense Ratio: 1.85%. Y Shares Gross Expense Ratio: 1.61%. Net Expense Ratio: 1.60%. Performance data quoted already reflects deduction of fund operating expenses. Net expense ratio reflects contractual fee waiver and/or expense reimbursement through January 31, 2015.

Class Y shares are generally available only to wrap or similar fee based programs offered by financial intermediaries, and foundations, endowments, and other consultant-driven business.

S-Network Global Water Index

The S-Network Global Water Index is a modified capitalization weighted, float adjusted equity index designed to serve as an equity benchmark for globally traded stocks which are materially engaged in the water utilities and water technology industries.

Lipper Global Natural Resources Funds Index

Tracks funds that, by prospectus or portfolio practice, invest primarily in the equity securities of domestic and foreign companies engaged in natural resources.

The performance data quoted represents past performance, which does not guarantee future results. The investment return and principal value of an investment will fluctuate so that an investor’s shares, when redeemed, may be worth more or less than their original cost. Current performance may be higher or lower than the performance data quoted. An Index reflects no deduction for fees and expenses. An investor cannot invest directly in an index. Visit www.calvert.com  to obtain performance data current to the most recent month-end.

The Fund is subject to the risk that stocks that comprise the water-related resource sector may fall in value. A downturn in the water-related resource sector would impact the Fund more than a fund that does not concentrate in this industry, and the Fund therefore may be more volatile than a typical mutual fund. Foreign investments involve greater risks than U.S. investments, including political and economic risks and the risk of currency fluctuations. The Fund is non-diversified and may invest more of its assets in a smaller number of issuers than a diversified fund; therefore, gains or losses on a single investment may have greater impact on the Fund.

The water industry can be significantly affected by a number of factors, including availability of water, the level of rainfall, water consumption, price and supply fluctuations, and government regulations and policies. The water sector can be volatile. Investment involves risk, including possible loss of principal.

About the Lipper Fund Awards

Lipper Fund Awards are granted annually to the funds in each Lipper classification that achieve the highest score for Consistent Return, a measure of funds’ historical risk-adjusted returns, relative to peers. Scores for Consistent Return are computed for all Lipper global classifications with ten or more distinct portfolios. The scores are subject to change every month and are calculated over 36, 60 and 120–month periods. The highest 20% of funds in each classification are named Lipper Leaders for Consistent Return. The highest Lipper Leader for Consistent Return within each eligible classification determines the fund classification winner over three, five, or ten years. Source: Lipper, a Thomson Reuters company.

About Calvert Investments

Calvert Investments is a leading investment management company using sustainability as a platform to create value for investors. Serving financial advisors and their clients, retirement plans and insurance carriers, and institutional investors, the company offers a broad array of equity, bond, and asset allocation strategies, featuring integrated environmental, social, and governance (ESG) research and corporate engagement. Strategies are available through mutual funds, sub-advisory services, and separate account management. Founded in 1976 and headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland, Calvert Investments had more than $ 13 billion in assets under management as of February 28, 2014. www.calvert.com

For more information on any Calvert fund, please contact Calvert at 800.368.2748 for a free summary prospectus and/or prospectus. An investor should consider the investment objectives, risks, charges, and expenses of an investment carefully before investing. The summary prospectus and prospectus contain this and other information. Read them carefully before you invest or send money.

Calvert mutual funds are underwritten and distributed by Calvert Investment Distributors, Inc., member FINRA and subsidiary of Calvert Investments, Inc.

Contact Information:

Melinda Lovins, Calvert Investment Management, Inc.
Phone: 301-657-7089  /   email:  Melinda.Lovins@Calvert.com

Article Source: Calvert Investment Management, Inc.

Green Transition Scoreboard Tops $5.3 Trillion Privately Invested In The Green Economy

 

Again for 2014, the Green Transition Scoreboard® (GTS) finds, with $5.3 trillion in private investments and commitments since 2007, the green economy is on track to reach $10 trillion in investments by 2020 to effectively scale innovations and reduce costs in green technologies as the world transitions to the Solar Age.

The 2014 GTS report Plenty of Water! [1] focuses on the many water investment opportunities as global policy makers, businesses and civic society realize water is critical to environmental, social and human capital, and must be integrated into financial markets rather than overlooked as an externality. The Water sector added $484 billion to the GTS, 9% of the overall total and more than either Green R&D or Cleantech.

GTS sectors follow substantial capital investments in technologies which Hazel Henderson, GTS founder and president of Ethical Markets, has gained from years of research as a science advisor and which the Ethical Markets Advisory Board [2] expertise indicate are continuing to contribute to the growing green economy worldwide. In addition to Water, the GTS tracks Renewable Energy ($2.6 trillion), Energy Efficiency ($1.1 trillion), Green Construction ($512 billion), Green R&D ($363 billion) and Cleantech ($258 billion).

Henderson says of the report, “We are mapping the global transition from the fossil-fueled Industrial Era to the more equitable, cleaner, knowledge-richer green economies to sustain our human future.”

The upward trend reported since 2009 aligns with Ethical Markets’ recommendation to invest at least 10% of institutional portfolios directly in companies driving the global Green Transition to appropriately update strategic asset allocation models both as opportunities and as risk mitigation. A 2012 report by Mercer suggested 40% of portfolios should be in Green Transition sectors.

The GTS definition of ‘green’omits nuclear, clean coal, carbon capture & sequestration, and biofuels from feedstock other than saltwater-grown algae.  Fossilized sectors are becoming increasingly stranded assets as perverse subsidies are targeted, low-carbon regulations are implemented and oil, coal and gas reserves become more costly and harder to exploit.  Nanotech, genetic engineering, artificial life-forms and 3D printing are considered on a case by case basis. The GTS omits government and institutional investments.

Green technologies and infrastructure investments are the next evolution in finance, building on earth systems science and information from satellites tracking conditions on Earth. GTS data sources include NASA; well-respected Cleantech, Bloomberg, Yahoo Finance, Reuters; UN and other international studies; individual company reports; indexes such as Calvert, Domini and Pax World;  PowerShares Cleantech Portfolio, Dow Jones Sustainability Indexes, London’s FTSE4GOOD, NASDAQ OMX Green Economy Index, ASPI Eurozone; newsletters and stock reports from around the world posted daily at www.ethicalmarkets.com . Sources of financial data are screened by rigorous social, environment and ethical auditing standards.

Fritjof Capra, author of the Tao of Physics and co-author with Henderson of Qualitative Growth [4], extols the report as “Great work. Most impressive!”

Key Findings Include:

Renewable Energy – as installation costs decrease, growth in megawatts brought online continue to increase, out-pacing most conventional energy sources.

Energy Efficiency – a “hidden energy source,” efficiency investments regularly have a 2-4 year ROI.

Green Construction – even as definitions tighten, this conservatively reported sector only counts green construction materials, excluding labor,  and continues to grow steadily.

Water – investment opportunities are often overlooked; using the abundant saltwater on Earth, which can irrigate halophyte agriculture in deserts, is largely ignored.  Those paying attention are funding steady growth.

Green R&D – significant Green R&D shows sustainability integrated into a company’s core strategy, a strong futures indicator for investors.  Global commitment to sustainability is shown in the up-swell in green patents, while fossil-fueled technologies remain flat.

Cleantech – one of the best performing sectors in private markets globally.  Extreme pollution in China, Korea’s play as a “green” leader and Japan’s demand for homeland energy solutions are driving cleantech in Asia.

This report, as well as Henderson’s Mapping the Global Transition to the Solar Age: from Economism to Earth Systems Science, will be presented at the Ethical Markets/Endobility conference on “Finding Ethical Alpha,” May 12-13, 2014 in St. Augustine, FL.

For More Information:

Rosalinda Sanquiche Co-Author and Executive Director
Phone: 904-826-1381 / Twitter: @ethicalmarkets
rosalinda.sanquiche@ethicalmarkets.com

Timothy Jack Nash Senior Advisor and Director of Sustainability Research
Phone: 416-821-9179 / Twitter: @timenash
tim.nash@ethicalmarkets.com

Hazel Henderson Founder and President
Phone: 904-829-3140
hazel.henderson@ethicalmarkets.com

Article Source: Ethical Markets Media

 

The Business of Healing Capitalism

By Ian Doyle, co-author of Healing Capitalism

 

I’ve just come home from lunch with a friend of mine who is part of the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) research team. He confirmed so much of what my co-author, Jem Bendell, and I believe is happening, or rather not happening, when it comes to responsible business practice.

He shared that while working on a smart-grid contract with a large electricity distribution and energy management company, he was brought close to a legal battle over the confidentiality of research methodology, which he developed. More specifically, the very questions asked during the semi-structured interview process were to remain the property of the company in question, a company that extols its sustainable business practices. Now my purpose is not to enter a debate on property rights (or transparency for that matter) because there are people far better equipped to do so (see Ha Joon Chang, Bad Samaritans: The Myth of Free Trade and The Secret History of Capitalism), but what this story highlights is a tragic situation whereby the façade of corporate responsibility (CR) is driven by the self-interest of business, rather than an examination of the social utility of business inline with broader societal goals. CR had become a domesticated management paradigm that did very little to facilitate collective awareness so that the company could embody the true sense of what responsibility means. In other words, CR was simply understood as another part of business, rather than an underlying philosophy that had a transformative agenda for business.

Since the beginning of the 21st century, we have seen a veritable corporate responsibility (CR) movement, as business attempts to respond to social and environmental issues. But the question running through our minds was, ‘what is the impact of this movement?’ And with good reason: since 2009, MIT Sloan Management Review in collaboration with Boston Consulting Group (BCG) has published its annual Sustainability and Innovation Global Executive Study on how business is addressing sustainability challenges. The 2013 findings suggest that although close to 90 percent of executives believe that sustainability-oriented strategies are essential for current and future competitive advantage, most are yet to fully embrace sustainability as a transformative business concept. The report concludes,

“Our findings are both encouraging and disconcerting. Although some companies are addressing important issues, we found a disconnect between thought and action on the part of many others. For example, nearly two-thirds of respondents rate social and environmental issues, such as pollution or employee health, as “significant” or “very significant” among their sustainability concerns. Yet only about 40% report that their organizations are largely addressing them. Even worse, only 10% say their companies fully tackle these issues.” [1]

These findings confirm our analysis of the key issues, events and trends in corporate responsibility for the 2006-2010 period: that CR had not been effective in helping business to better understand how it makes sense of its responsible business practice, nor had it created greater awareness on social and environmental issues. As such, we conclude in our new book Healing Capitalism that for contemporary CR to be truly transformative, business needs to think about its healing role in capitalism, one that will require collective action and the renewed role of government.

My co-author proposed the ‘healing’ theme as a way of framing how business organizations view their role in contributing to societal wellness. That is to say, did business understand its role as treating symptoms or did it want to be part of the cure? If the latter, did business contribute to supporting existing system structures that were unhelpful in the healing journey? If business did understand the possibility of playing a healing role, what would be the level of engagement? Would business act as an anti-inflammatory, a placebo, or a potential cure?

Because capitalism is the dominating economic system of our time, did business understand the implications of how such a system organizes our society and the fundamental features of that system. So it was helpful to ask two simple questions, what is capitalism and what are the systems that support its ideology?

Grammatically speaking, the suffix –ism in capitalism directs our attention to a belief in capital, and a system that creates and maintains capital. This naturally raises the question of, what is capital, which Jem has succinctly defined as follows,

“Something is ‘capital’ because of a specific power relationship: ‘capital’ is anything physical or virtual that someone or group can control sufficiently in order to extract an income or benefit from.”

It follows, says Bendell, that capitalism,

“is the belief that more and more resources should be managed by specific individuals or groups to generate incomes or yields, i.e. to be managed as capital. Therefore, to believe in capitalism is to believe that it is good to control bits of existence to extract revenues or yields from them, mostly through controlling how other people interact with that bit of existence. It is a belief in creating and using property.”

This understanding of capitalism facilitated our questioning. If property is such a key part of capitalism, had business reflected on what constitutes responsible ownership and how it could be a lever in addressing social issues? For instance, economic inequality is one of the most pressing social issues of our time yet the executives interviewed as part of the BCG survey did not identify it as such. This, in spite of the public outcry associated with the disproportionate earnings of executives compared to the average employee within large organizations. Our own study of economic inequality, which analyzed the best Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) social reports of leading companies supports this finding as no company was addressing the issue in a significant way. If CR is at the heart of a business’ strategy, then the management systems in place would at least identify economic inequality as an issue. By not identifying this issue, it is unlikely that a corporation would begin a reflection on the causes of inequality, either within the organization, or outside of it.

For instance, the money system, whereby banks issue money as debt with interest creates scarcity and a competitive process which guarantees that many will miss out. This process is not only undemocratic in that private banks control the issuance of money with very limited accountability, but it imposes a growth imperative through the consumption of resources to pay back exponentially increasing usury. So if business is going to be part of the cure, it is in the interest of business to be aware of the nature of the money system if it wants to play a role in building a more sustainable world. This is a key theme of the introduction to our book, but need not be repeated here in light of Katie Teague’s article Money and Life: A Renaissance Moment, (http://bit.ly/1k5huH1 ) outlining her documentary on the theme of money in the March edition of GreenMoney Journal.

In the same vein, the question of ownership raises the issue of accountability. If capitalism embraces the control of bits of existence by individuals and groups, what are the accountability mechanisms for those that have property privileges? It is clear that the role of government is essential for any healing to occur.

As such, our book presents a new vision and form of capitalism, one that will require collective action and a new role for government, as well as providing insights into how CR can shape the thinking that guides the social utility of business. Healing Capitalism is also a first in contemporary CR analysis in that it highlights how the CR movement has ignored one of the fundamental issues that impede progress towards sustainability – the money system, including the nature and issuance of money itself, and the damaging consequences of such a system. This in turn has radical implications for CR and SRI professionals alike and challenges current discourses on CR.

By differentiating between capital and money as we have, we have also invited readers into a reflection on their values. As a belief in capital is simply a mechanism to obtain more money, the question needs to be asked, ‘why, do I need this money?’ My friend’s story highlights a deplorable situation whereby language is appropriated to be transformed into property for the purposes of making money. When a company wants to own the very language that defines humanness for profit motives, our humanity is undermined. It is this kind of thinking that encouraged financial analysts to use the impending financial crisis as leverage for making money, rather than working with the relevant authorities to reduce the harmful impact on society. It is at this point that an organization can embrace the full meaning of healing. That is, is the level of social engagement of an organization symptomatic, or is it transformative by furthering life-giving existence. Such a reflection can be confrontational, but brings with it opportunity and dare I say hope.

Key to any transformational agenda will be an understanding of the aspirational nature of values. Becoming more aware of the systems around us isn’t enough. We also need to reflect on what those systems say about us and do they express the vision of the world that we want. In this light, healing capitalism may only be the start of a greater personal and collective transformation. Will business be part of the cure? Only time will heal all wounds.

Article by Ian Doyle, the General Manager of Lifeworth Consulting and is based in Grenoble, UK. Doyle is co-author of “Healing Capitalism: Five Years in the Life of Business, Finance and Corporate Responsibility” (May 2014, Greenleaf Publishing).

Article Note

[1]  David Kiron et al. ‘Sustainability’s Next Frontier: Walking to Talk on Sustainability Issues that Matter Most’, MIT Sloan Management Review. December 2013. Details at- http://bit.ly/1e17blJ

A Quarter Century of Transforming Investment

By Lisa Woll, CEO of US SIF

 

Lisa Woll, CEO of US SIFAt the US SIF Fourth Annual Conference from May 19-21 in Washington, DC, our agenda will include topics ranging from millennial investing, food security and climate change, income inequality, portfolio performance, company sustainability practices, community investing, global trends, pension funds and ESG, effective policy engagement, building integrity in the financial process, and financing the shift from fossil fuels.

The topics are broad because sustainable, responsible and impact investors have an inclusive mandate—seeking to invest for a financial return, but also to advance and integrate environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues  in their investing strategy. Investors, from the retail to the institutional scale, pursue strategies to make impact through investments across asset classes: from community credit unions to individual stocks and mutual funds, and in private equity and fixed income.

Several decades ago, thoughtful investors including faith-based institutions, foundations and universities began to look at how their investments were affecting their communities and the environment. They took action by, for example, excluding stocks from tobacco companies or businesses associated with repressive governments, such as South Africa during apartheid.

Decades later, the field is thriving and US SIF: The Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment (www.ussif.org ) works with its members to advance investment practices that consider environmental, social and corporate governance criteria to generate long-term competitive financial returns and positive societal impact. US SIF’s membership includes investment management and advisory firms, mutual fund companies, research firms, financial planners and advisors, broker-dealers, community investing institutions, non-profit associations, and pension funds, foundations, and other asset owners. US SIF produces research, hosts an annual conference, undertakes policy and advocacy, engages with the media and other organizations, delivers online and live courses, and organizes networking and professional development opportunities for our members.

According to the US SIF Foundation’s 2012 Report on Sustainable and Responsible Investing Trends in the United States, at the end of 2011, more than 11 percent, $3.74 trillion of the $33.3 trillion, of investments under U.S. professional management were selected based on ESG criteria. This represents an increase of 486% from the first edition of the Trends Report in 1995.

Sustainable investors have been, and continue to be, a force for positive change. They have helped to improve the environmental, social and governance practices of companies around the world, indirectly benefiting countless individuals and communities. They have pursued investment strategies that foster economic development and expand financial services to lower-income communities. To advance their principles and priorities on a larger scale, sustainable investors have advocated for national and global policies and created national and international standard setting organizations.

Some of the key achievements are:

•  Individual investors have benefited by gaining access to retirement plans with sustainable investment options and the ability to work with specialized SRI financial advisors.

•  Investors, often in collaboration with civil society groups, have persuaded numerous companies to improve policies and processes, including adopting sustainable forestry practices, improving executive pay practices, addressing labor and human rights conditions in their global supply chains, and improving climate risk disclosure.

•  Investors have assisted individuals and communities, through direct investments in community development financial institutions and by bringing changes in corporate behavior that benefit communities or reduce harm, such as access to clean water and creating better workplaces.

•  Investors have advocated for important policy reforms including advancing key provisions in the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Financial Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010, among many other policy engagements.

•  Investors have played a crucial role in the development of key standard setting organizations such as the Global Sustainable Investment Alliance, the Global Reporting Initiative and CDP (formerly the Carbon Disclosure Project).

Increasingly, large institutions are entering the sustainable, impact and ESG integration space. For example, Morgan Stanley recently established an Institute for Sustainable Investing and launched the Investing with Impact Platform, and last year Merrill Lynch Wealth Management and US Trust launched 180 ESG-themed investments. JP Morgan Chase and Northern Trust both have significant assets in sustainable and impact investments.

A key priority for US SIF this year is to continue to offer information to investors who are deciding how to address climate change through their portfolios. The launch of a fossil fuel divestment campaign has created new interest among individual and institutional investors on how to best address climate challenges. US SIF has created climate guides to assist investors in understanding their options, and to help reinvest if they have chosen to divest from fossil fuel stocks.

Additionally, we will be ramping up the work of the Center for Sustainable Investment Education. The Center, part of the US SIF Foundation, was launched in 2013 in order to serve the growing need of investment professionals in the United States to gain expertise in SRI. The Center provides high quality education, research and thought leadership. The Center’s inaugural online course, Fundamentals of Sustainable and Responsible Investment, was also launched in 2013 and provides CFP® Board, CFA Institute and CIMA® credits to financial professionals who take this three hour course. The course is also offered in-person and in webinar form.

2014 is also an important year for research as we will publish the 2014 Report on Sustainable and Responsible Investing Trends in the United States. The 2014 edition of Trends will capitalize on the insights gained from the recent US SIF Foundation research reports on mission investing by foundations and on expanding the market for community investing. We will also produce the second edition of the Global Sustainable Investment Review  as a member of the Global Sustainable Investment Alliance (www.gsi-alliance.org ). Additionally, we will release the final of four handbooks under our “How Do I SRI?” series. This last theme guide will focus on investing in women.

US SIF will remain actively engaged on key public policy issues, including corporate political contributions, community investing, environmental, social and governance disclosure, inclusion of a sustainable investment option in the Federal Thrift Savings Plan, climate change, and ERISA fiduciary duty guidance. We will once again hold a day of Capitol Hill visits as part of our 2014 Annual Conference, giving our members a chance to share their unique perspective with their elected officials.

Despite the great impacts that have been made by sustainable, responsible and impact investors, the industry’s work has never been more important in advancing a more sustainable and equitable economy. We hope that you will join us in our efforts, this year and in years to come.

Article by Lisa Woll, who has served as the CEO of US SIF and the US SIF Foundation since 2006, and has been responsible for strategic planning, developing a robust policy presence, expansion and diversification of funding, launching our national conference and creating the Center for Sustainable Investment Education.

Prior to US SIF, Lisa was executive director of the International Women’s Media Foundation, an organization focused on press freedom and expansion of women’s role in the media. During her tenure, the IWMF played a significant role in re-orienting the way journalism training was carried out on the issues of HIV-AIDS, malaria and TB in several African media organizations. Lisa also spent a decade working on children’s human rights. She was the director of the first international study to look at the impact of the Convention on the Rights of the Child and directed the Washington, DC office of Save the Children. She is a member of the Advisory Council of the Children’s Rights Division of Human Rights Watch.

The Nature of Investing

By Katherine Collins, Author, The Nature of Investing and Founder, Honeybee Capital

 

Katherine Collins
Katherine Collins
photo by Miranda Loud

In Green Money circles, we spend a lot of time considering ways to invest in nature, or sometimes with nature. These are big and important questions: more complete understanding of the value of nature is certainly a vital component of any sustainable investing approach.

What if we also consider investing as nature? In addition to the material bounty provided by our natural world, we also have access to great stores of wisdom that are embedded in natural organisms and natural systems. Looking to nature as our ultimate model of a resilient, regenerative system holds tremendous potential. As Janine Benyus, biomimicry pioneer, notes, “we are searching high and low, but we already have a perfectly sustainable world: the natural world.” What if our investment processes were rooted in the same principles that guide the effective, optimized function seen in nature?

The Nature of InvestingBiomimicry begins with the idea of embracing nature’s wisdom, not harvesting nature’s stuff. At its heart is a deceptively simple question: WWND – What Would Nature Do? How would nature perform the function I’m trying to perform? This center point is remarkable in several ways: first, it starts with a question, with open inquiry. Biomimicry does not begin with a predetermined endpoint, even when the challenge before us has clear requirements or constraints. Second, the question is rooted in context: what would nature do here, in these circumstances? And finally, it forces us to be precise about purpose and function: what are we really trying to do, and why?

I came to biomimicry along a winding path, beginning at a low point in my career. I was struggling through a tough performance patch, as all investors eventually do, when luckily I was introduced to the work of Dr. Tom Seeley of Cornell through a meeting at the Santa Fe Institute. Dr. Seeley’s work investigates how bees make collective decisions that are consistently terrific. For example, when bees are looking to take significant action, like swarming to a new hive location, the first thing they do is to go out and explore the environment around them. This simple observation struck me like a lightening bolt. Here I was, staying later and later at my desk every night, building more and more convoluted models and spreadsheets, hoping that the answer would come to me through my computer screen. What I needed, instead, was to be out in the world, assessing my investment decisions in context.

That path of inquiry first led (thankfully) to recovery in my investment performance, then to studies in moral philosophy at Harvard Divinity School, inspiration and mentorship from Janine Benyus and Hazel Henderson, formal training with the Biomimicry 3.8 organization and Dayna Baumeister, and the founding of Honeybee Capital, where our mission is to reconnect investing with the real world. And now it has led to writing my first book, The Nature of Investing, which explores the principles of biomimicry and their application to finance in depth.

Locally Attuned Investing

For instance, one key set of life’s principles is to be locally attuned and adaptive. This is not a simple notion of physical proximity (though that’s part of it); these ideas encompass a more complete concept of life in context. The principles talk about fitting in to our local environments, connecting and integrating with those local systems. To thrive in any context we need to do more than just be there. We need local inputs, local relationships, and local feedback loops.

Consider the amazing Namib beetle, which thrives in the desert. The beetle takes advantage of the fog that sweeps over the sand dunes at dawn. When the fog comes, the beetle raises its shell up so that the water condenses on the upturned surface. The shell has bumps that attract water at the tips and channels that then guide the droplets right into the beetle’s mouth. This insect has found a way not just to survive in its challenging environment, but to thrive by integrating those same tough conditions into the most crucial parts of its life.

When I looked at my own investments with this idea of being locally attuned, I saw two different gaps between my intentions and my reality. The first gap was geographic: like many investors these days, I had a lot of faraway multinational holdings in my portfolio. There’s a place for global holdings, but there’s also a place for investing close to home. Though I was investing my time, my energy – my life! – in my own community, my investment dollars were mostly elsewhere. So, over the last few years I’ve been working with our local Slow Money group, Boston-area entrepreneurs, and other community-based organizations to “buy local” more often for my investments as well as my groceries.

The second disconnect related to a more metaphorical kind of “local,” the kind that is defined by connection and mutuality, regardless of distance. My investments in some cases were not only far away geographically, but also far away in terms of their composition. I owned some bundled-up funds of funds and some complicated securities that were supposed to protect me from market volatility. These ingredients might well belong in some of our portfolios, but I want my portfolio to be full of organizations where I have connection, whether it be to mission, people, or product. So I’ve gradually been de-layering my holdings in recent years, and reconnecting them to my own ideas and values in a less-processed way – a sort of “organic investing”.  Simpler structures and processes, more connected to me and my life.

Vision

If we apply all of the principles of biomimicry, what might real local attunement look like? I have an idea, though it’s not drawn from a traditional investing context.

Over the past two decades, I’ve had the joy of traveling to more than twenty countries with Habitat for Humanity, offering manual labor to assist local homeowners as they constructed their houses. On one of my early trips to Africa, the leader of the local Habitat group showed us the storeroom, which was just a small shed with tools and a few bags of cement. I was confused — where were all the other building materials? Having been an analyst covering the home-building industry in the United States, I was used to seeing big stockpiles of materials near any building site.

Soon enough, I realized where the materials were: they were all around us. In the coming days, we took an oxcart down to the riverbank to shovel sand, which we then sifted by hand before mixing into mortar. We walked to the pump down the road to gather water in big, ten-gallon containers, many times each day. We dug clay from the very spot where the house was going to be located, shaping it into bricks for the walls. We went out to the forest to cut lumber for the roof framing. Aside from those bags of cement, a handful of nails, and galvanized metal sheets for the roof, the materials were all hyper-local.

Even more importantly, the entire community was involved in the building process. Extended family, friends, and neighbors all helped on the jobsite. Some provided food and shelter for visitors. Others provided moral support, stopping by to cheer on the work and to comment on progress. The new house was not just situated within the community; its very construction was a community activity—completely locally attuned. A community investment.

The time has come for us to refocus on investing in its essential, connected form – to reintegrate investing with the real world, rather than the world on the screen.

Biomimicry provides us with a framework that embodies connection and integration, a model of our natural systems that have proven to be effective, adaptive, and sustainable. The principles of biomimicry, Life’s Principles, are not the newest theories: they are the oldest facts. These concepts describe how the natural world has actually functioned for 3.8 billion years.

Life’s principles give a clear and compelling guide for transforming the investment process from the roots up. The result is an investment approach that goes “beyond sustainability” to form a system that is inherently resilient and regenerative. Most importantly, they are the basis of an approach that re-aligns investing with the world it was originally meant to serve.

Instead of efficient, effective.

Instead of rigid, resilient.

Instead of transactional, relational.

Instead of maximized, optimized.

This is the true nature of investing.

Article by Katherine Collins, Founder and CEO of Honeybee Capital (www.honeybeecapital.com ), a financial firm dedicated to reconnecting investing with the real world. She is author of the book, “The Nature of Investing,” and her newest neighbors in Massachusetts are several thousand honeybees.

Katherine has over twenty years of professional investment experience as portfolio manager and head of research at Fidelity Management & Research Company. More recently she has earned her MTS degree at Harvard Divinity School and studied biomimicry in search of guides for investing in a more integrated way, beneficial to our communities and our planet.

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