Category: September 2014 – What’s Next for Sustainable Investing?

Three Organic Visionaries to Receive 2014 Organic Leadership Awards

 

Celebration set for September at American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore

By Barbara Haumann, Organic Trade Association

A pioneer and tireless teacher of the organic way for more than 40 years, an organic farmer dedicated to making his farming operation a compelling example of a better way to farm, and an environmental engineer who triggered an organic revolution in the mattress and bedding industry will be honored next month by the Organic Trade Association (OTA) for their visionary work that is transforming organic farming and trade.

“These outstanding visionaries have made invaluable contributions to demonstrating how organic practices can change our world for the better,” said Laura Batcha, OTA’s Executive Director and CEO. She added, “We are excited to honor these three individuals who were nominated by their peers and chosen unanimously by OTA’s Board of Directors.”

To be honored September 17 at OTA’s 2014 Organic Leadership Awards Celebration in Baltimore, MD, are:

•  Marty Mesh, Executive Director of Florida Certified Organic Growers and Consumers – Growing the Organic Industry Award

•  Doug Crabtree, Farmer and Organic Farm Trainer, Vilicus Farms – Organic Farmer of the Year Award

•  Barry A. Cik, Technical Director, Naturpedic Organic Mattresses – Rising Star Award

Here is a brief look at the honorees:

Growing the Organic Industry Award

Marty Mesh has dedicated more than 40 years to organic agriculture. In 1973, he started growing organic produce and helped start a co-op so people could purchase organic food. After attending the University of Florida, he founded Bellevue Gardens Organic Farm. For 25 years, working with his hands in the soil, he refined the methods that would later become organic standards. He also worked with other farmers to create a certification program to differentiate organic products in the marketplace. In 1989 he helped form Florida Certified Organic Growers & Consumers Inc. (FOG), and has served as its executive director since 1995. FOG’s certification arm, Quality Certification Services (QCS), now certifies over 900 farm and handling operations in the U.S. and abroad.

Mesh has been involved at all levels — local, regional, national, and international — and in many different efforts — food systems, policy analysis and advocacy, public speaking and training — to transform the food system and grow organic agriculture and the industry. He has served on the Board of Directors for many organizations including The Organic Center and the Accredited Certifiers Association. He also served as a charter board member for the Organic Materials Review Institute, and was on the steering committee that helped form the Southern Sustainable Agricultural Working Group which has made significant progress towards increasing the viability of farms in the south.

Bu Nygrens, co-owner of Veritable Vegetable who will introduce Mesh for his Award, describes him as a clear thinker and visionary, who also leads others to common ground. “Without consensus among certifiers, without a clear national standard, with the continuous efforts of the Organic Trade Association on which Marty has served as a Board member, the growth of our ‘niche market’ would not be embraced by mainstream markets and mainstream agriculture as it is today.”

Organic Farmer of the Year Award

Growing up on a conventional managed farm in Ohio, Doug Crabtree never imagined he’d be anything other than a farmer. However, over time, he has become not only a passionate advocate of organic farming, but also a steward helping others become organic farmers.

Earning a B.S. in Agricultural Economics from Purdue University and a Masters in Plant Science at South Dakota State University, he first worked with an investment firm interested in organic farming. This experience confirmed that organic farming was not just economically viable but also economically advantageous over conventional farming. He subsequently served as an independent organic inspector for five years, gaining perspective on the challenges facing organic farmers, and later joined the Montana Department of Agriculture in 2001 as Organic Certification Manager.

In 2009, he and his wife and partner, Anna Jones-Crabtree, purchased their first organic acreage in northern Hill County, Montana. They chose the name Vilicus Farms (Vilicus in Latin means “steward”). Since then, they have actively farmed while setting up a mentoring apprenticeship program to actively engage new farmers in growing organically, giving them hand-on skills needed to farm successfully.

“Doug has worked tirelessly towards advancing the cause of organic agriculture through his organic land management systems, his work as a producer of organic food, as dedicated policy advocate, and with Anna spearheading the farm’s apprenticeship training program. Doug entered farming determined to change the dominant agricultural model, and in everything he does, he strives to provide a compelling example of a better way to farm,” says Dag Falck, Organic Program Manager for Nature’s Path Organic Foods.

Rising Star Award

As the founder and Technical Director of Naturepedic Organic Mattresses, Barry A. Cik has a lifelong interest in preserving the environment for all future generations. A professionally trained environmental engineer, Cik combines his passion for improving our quality of life with his technical knowledge.

Horrified to discover the state of the baby mattress industry when he shopped for a crib mattress for a grandchild, Cik was determined to create mattress products that were environmentally safe. Working with his sons, he established Naturepedic in 2003. Since that time, Naturepedic has expanded from a small family business to a nationally known company. Moreover, Cik strongly believes in being certified to the world’s most stringent quality and environmental standards, and demonstrates to other companies that such goals are attainable. All Naturepedic mattresses have been certified to meet the highly sought-after Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS). Naturepedic this year became the first GOTS certified organic mattress manufacturer to have all of its products attain Level IV certification by the Specialty Sleep Association.

“Organic mattresses and bedding were unheard of ten years ago. Today, they are well accepted, commonplace and coveted. Barry triggered an organic revolution in the bedding and mattress industry through all of his community and political efforts. In fact, the industry will truly never be the same because people now know they have a choice—and their choices matter,” says Dale T. Read, President of The Specialty Sleep Association.

Organic Leadership Awards Celebration

Celebrate with your colleagues and honor these visionaries by attending OTA’s Annual Awards Celebration on September 17 at the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore, MD. Tickets are now available for purchase online. Purchase early as this event generally sells out.

About Organic Trade Association

The Organic Trade Association (OTA) is the membership-based business association for organic agriculture and products in North America. OTA is the leading voice for the organic trade in the United States, representing over 6,500 organic businesses across 49 states. Its members include growers, shippers, processors, certifiers, farmers’ associations, distributors, importers, exporters, consultants, retailers and others. OTA’s Board of Directors is democratically elected by its members. OTA’s mission is to promote and protect the growth of organic trade to benefit the environment, farmers, the public and the economy. For more information go to- www.ota.com

Information Contact:

Barbara Haumann (802) 275-3820 or  bhaumann@ota.com

GreenMoney’s Cliff Feigenbaum is interviewed on ‘Green is Good Radio’ about investing money smartly and sustainably.

 

Cliff FeigenbaumGreen is Good Radio is hosted by Electronic Recyclers International’s John Shegerian and airs every Saturday at 5 p.m. EST to nearly 40 million registered listeners in every city from coast to coast on iHeartRadio’s America’s Talk channel. See more at http://greenisgoodradio.com

 

Here is Cliff’s interviewhttp://bit.ly/1Az7SuK

 

 

 

Parnassus Investments, a Leading U.S. Equity Fund Supports Community Investing in Maine with CEI

 

Coastal Enterprises, Inc. (CEI) recently announced that Parnassus Investments, an investment management company and a leader in the field of responsible investing, has made a $1 million investment in CEI Investment Notes, Inc. (CEI Notes) via its Parnassus Core Equity Fund.

CEI Notes is a 501(c)(3) non-profit affiliate of CEI, a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) based in Wiscasset, Maine. CEI Notes supports CEI’s community financing activity by financing micro, small and medium enterprises, affordable housing and community facilities that bring economic, social and environmental benefits to rural communities throughout Maine.

“The investment from Parnassus means significant capital to support projects that create jobs, build safe affordable housing, and deliver important services for people outside of the economic mainstream,” said Ellen Golden, Managing Director of CEI Notes.

“Mutual fund investment in CDFIs is a cutting-edge, yet practical, practice in which responsible investments firms have been setting a healthy trend,” said Ron Phillips, CEI President and CEO, and CEI Notes Board Chair. “CDFIs offer stability and the triple bottom line of economic returns coupled with social and environmental impact. In these challenging times, Parnassus recognizes the importance of investing in people and communities, particularly in rural areas.”

“Parnassus is honored to make this investment in CEI Notes. CEI is an established leader in the CDFI industry, and CEI Notes creates the opportunity for its supporters to engage in community investing,” said Marc Mahon, CFO of Parnassus Investments. “We are particularly pleased that our investment will leverage the support of other community members to CEI Notes.”

About Coastal Enterprises, Inc. and CEI Investment Notes, Inc.

Founded in 1977, Coastal Enterprises, Inc. has provided $980 million in financing to 2,340 enterprises with 28,246 jobs at the time of loan closing. In addition, CEI has created/preserved 1,587 units of affordable housing, provided training and technical assistance to 46,040 individuals and small businesses and provided leadership to a broad range of policy initiatives. CEI Investment Notes, Inc. was launched in 2009 to support CEI’s community economic development efforts. More information at  www.ceimaine.org

About Parnassus Investments

Parnassus Investments is an independent and employee-owned investment management company based in San Francisco, California. The firm seeks to invest in good businesses that have increasingly relevant products or services, sustainable competitive advantages, quality management teams and ethical business practices. We believe the most attractive opportunities for investments arise when companies with good business fundamentals become temporarily undervalued. Our goal is to provide value to our shareholders by generating attractive risk-adjusted returns over the long-term. The firm was founded in 1984, and currently manages five fundamental, U.S., core equity strategies across multiple market capitalizations, one Asia Pacific equity strategy and one U.S., fixed income strategy. More information at  www.parnassus.com

This notice is not an offer to sell securities.

Pax Ellevate and Investing in Women featured in PBS NewsHour Report and interview with Sallie Krawcheck

 

PBS NewsHour focused on the theme of investing in women in a recent broadcast segment and interview

Among several key topics covered, the report explores the research that links gender diversity to financial performance, the launch of the Pax Ellevate Global Women’s Index Fund (the Fund) (PXWEX, PXWIX), the success of some of the Fund’s top holdings, and the value of socially responsible investing.

You also can learn more about this topic in a Q&A posted to the PBS NewsHour website (and beiow) with Sallie Krawcheck, a principal of Ellevate Asset Management LLC, which partnered with Pax World Management LLC in launching the Fund.

Why there aren’t enough businesswomen at the top, and what Sallie Krawcheck’s doing about it

The financial institutions on Sallie Krawcheck’s resume read like a who’s who of Wall Street: Citigroup, Bank of America, Smith Barney, Merrill Lynch. She’s been near the top at all of them, climbing the ranks in an industry – that she’d be the first to admit – is full of white, middle-aged men. But three years ago, she left banking – not without taking another step toward diversifying the old boys club. She bought and relaunched a women’s network of Goldman Sachs alumni.

Listening to women in the group, she realized that they wanted not just to mentor and network with other women, but to invest in them. From there, she started a stock mutual fund that invests only in companies that promote women. That’s the subject of Paul Solman’s Making Sen$e segment on the NewsHour.

Much has been made of the so-called Queen Bee syndrome — the idea that high-powered women don’t want to mentor the younger women following them up the ladder for fear of competition. Hillary Clinton and Sheryl Sandberg, Krawcheck said, have helped to change that mentality, and she hopes her network will do the same. But with women holding less than 15 percent of executive slots at Fortune 500 companies, they remain woefully underrepresented in the upper echelons of American business, especially considering that women earn almost half of all advanced business degrees.

Returning to her South Carolinian roots, Krawcheck explains how the narratives spun in princess fairy tales sent a message to girls to keep their heads down and tells Paul Solman what kind of hard work – and luck – it took for her to raise a family and herself up the ranks of some of America’s top companies. The text of Krawcheck’s extended conversation with Paul below has been edited and condensed for clarity and length. Watch the segment from the NewsHour above.

– Simone Pathe, Making Sen$e Editor

Interview Text:

Paul Solman: So what’s the network about?

Sallie Krawcheck:  About a year ago, I bought a recently named professional womens’ network. It was the old 85 Broads – cheeky name, great name for many years…

Paul Solman:  But it’s because it was on Broad Street and Goldman Sachs…

Sallie Krawcheck: It was an informal Goldman Sachs female alumni network that started – you gotta love it, [with] eight women having dinner who had recently left Goldman and [wanted to] get back together again. Today, we’ve renamed it Ellevate — E-L-L-E-V-A-T-E (with a play on the French “she”). It’s 34,000 women strong; it’s across industries and around the world.

And the reason I became interested in it is the same theme [as the mutual fund]. Which is greater diversity drives better business results. And as I thought about how we could be helpful to the women themselves, networking has been called the number one unwritten rule of success in business. It’s not the schmoozing, go play golf, go drink a beer – though there’s something to be said for that – but instead the network of connections that one has that can drive information back to one that can enable one to be successful in business. So, as a result of that, as a means to try to have an impact on the women themselves, I bought the network and we’ve been investing quite a bit back into it to help women be more successful.

And after buying the network and engaging with the women, the majority of them told us that not only did they like the idea of investing in themselves and getting education for themselves and networking for themselves, but they actually want to invest in other women. That they want to put their dollars to work to help other women to succeed. And that was the genesis of the fund, or really the idea of the fund from my perspective.

Paul Solman:  They want to do it because of solidarity, or they want to do it because they think women will be better managers?

Sallie Krawcheck:  Yes, yes, yes, everything. Emerging investors want to invest differently. They want to have their dollars — their investment dollars — do double duty. So this is a topic that these women say is important to them personally. Probably not surprisingly, they’re women in business. But it’s good for the economy overall. So we listened to these women, and we’re investing a portion of the Ellevate network revenues into the fund, thereby enabling the women to — in an indirect way — also invest in women. But they’re also putting their time into mentoring other women, to sharing their expertise.

The Queen Bee Syndrome

Sallie Krawcheck:  I was thinking the other day about the old Queen Bee syndrome — the idea, for so many years, that if a woman was successful, she wasn’t helping other women. And I think one of the sea changes here that we’re seeing driven by the attention Hillary Clinton has brought to the issue, driven by the attention Sheryl Sandberg has brought to the issue, driven by the attention Anne-Marie Slaughter has given to the issue, is there’s a national — if not global — conversation about this. And what you’re hearing from women is the pie can grow; this can be good for the economy; it can be good for individual companies; it can be good for ourselves. It’s not the choice of this one gets to make it, this one gets to be successful, and others don’t. But in fact, as we work together and pool our resources, there’s room for everyone to be successful.

What About the Men?

Paul Solman:  Aren’t you at all concerned that since there are more women than men now in America’s colleges and universities that the last thing we’ve got to worry about looking ahead is the empowerment of women; It’s men who are in trouble?

Sallie Krawcheck:  Woo, wow, are we really having this conversation?! First of all, I’d say, I prefer the word “engagement.” Instead of empowerment, it’s enabling women to engage in business. You know, what you’re making is implicitly the pipeline argument: if you have enough women at the beginning of the pipeline, you’ll have enough women at the end of the pipeline.

Something happens in the middle when women are in their 30s, and we can start with an array of things that happen, whether it is — you hope this doesn’t exist any longer — but overt discrimination; whether it’s subtle gender discrimination, which absolutely does exist among men and women; whether it’s the fact that it gets hard to juggle at that point children, housework, etc. But people still have to go home and cook the dinner and clean the dishes and get the beds made and so on. And so, for a whole bunch of reasons, women tend to fall out in their 30s still today.

And somehow, in our corporate culture, because someone may have to take some flexibility because of family issues, somehow we continue to believe they aren’t fully dedicated. Instead of embracing the fact, “Geez, look at what this person is accomplishing in the course of a day!”; This is someone who, male or female, after they get through some of these very intense home years, is going to be an outstanding executive. Somehow, today, many of the cultures still sort of give a negative for that. If this were easy, this would be easy. If it were just about intelligence or effort, you know, we would have much more diverse teams. But globally, we’re still at 11 percent gender diversity [of corporate boards and senior management] despite the fact that the pipeline has been robust for as long as I’ve been in business.

How Did Krawcheck Strike the Balance?

Paul Solman:  Well, you made it into an extremely high level of corporate America. So what was different about you?

Sallie Krawcheck:  You know, there was a lot of hard work, and I don’t want to take anything away from that, because I worked my tail off…

Paul Solman: How long of days did you work?

Sallie Krawcheck:  Well, who knows, because there was this constant juggling. I can tell you that I sat in that kitchen on more Saturday nights after my children were asleep than I can count getting work done so that I could switch and have time with them at “Mommy and Me Singalong” on Friday afternoons. So there was an enormous amount of hard work.

What’s Luck Got To Do With It?

Sallie Krawcheck:  But there was also a ton of luck as well. I had great bosses. I got my first big promotion when I was eight months pregnant. I looked 17 months pregnant, but I was eight months pregnant. So I had very good bosses, very good companies for which I worked. I worked in industries where the results really mattered; it wasn’t the perception of results, it was just the facts.

Paul Solman:  This was financial services?

Sallie Krawcheck:  This was financial services as a research analyst where the clients would vote for your research or not, and there wasn’t one of them who cared whether it was done on a Saturday night at the kitchen table as opposed to a Thursday afternoon.

Paul Solman:  Or whether you were pregnant.

Sallie Krawcheck:  Or whether I was pregnant. But I will tell you what came to me loud and clear: I was lucky. My children didn’t have health issues, didn’t have big school problems, etc. And as I watched some of my peers go through this, you can see how quickly a family can get derailed when they are not lucky.

Women and Results

Paul Solman:  But if results drive promotion in financial services, then how come there aren’t more women?

Sallie Krawcheck:  No, no, no, no. I’ve seen the opposite occur. I remember in one job when I had a super intelligent, super nice, super wonderful gentlemen come to me and say that we had to winnow down the number of senior managers. And he came to me and he went through each of them. We started with a group this big, with X percent of females, and we went to a group that big, that had less than X percent females. And I remember sitting there, and he went through all the reasons. This guy really turned this business around; this guy had a really tough area; this guy walked on water. And at the end of it, by the way, he said, “I know there’s not as many women as we’d like, but the results are the results.”

And I said, “Super. Do me a favor: let’s go back — we have weekly performance sheets with the numbers on them.” I said, “I want you to bring those to me, and I want to sit down and go through them together. And how all these all fall out with their rankings on the statistics, versus your view of their ranking.” He came back a few days later, unbelievably sheepish. He said, “I can’t believe it, but my perception did not match up with the numbers. And in fact, I’m now changing my recommendation so that we’ve got a more balanced mix, based on the results and numbers.”

So what I would say, while businesses can think they’re being driven by the best decision, it can often be that we have these subtle views — who bragged the most eloquently, who presented themselves the best, who made the best case? And sometimes, those are people who have the best results, and sometimes they’re not.

The Power of Fairy Tales

Paul Solman:  More often than not compared to women, it’s men who do that.

Sallie Krawcheck:  Well, I would say my experience is the gentlemen tend to ask for more…

Paul Solman:  More aggressive and more self-assertive…

Sallie Krawcheck:  And the women, and I think because they gave us those fairy tale books when we were children – the Cinderellas and the Sleeping Beauties and the Snow Whites — you know, “Do your work, keep your head down, good things will come.”

Paul Solman:  Do you really think that’s the reason?

Sallie Krawcheck:  I don’t know what the reason is. It’s a hypothesis.

Paul Solman:  It could be something innate, right?

Sallie Krawcheck:  Well, look, I think it could be innate or socialization as well…

Paul Solman:  Or presumably some of both, right?

Sallie Krawcheck:  That’s the hypothesis. I can tell you that my experience has been that the gentlemen are more likely to come and ask for the order, ask for the raise, ask for the promotion, and that the women are less likely to do so.

Paul Solman:  And you think that’s because they’re more likely to read the fairy tales and say, oh, Prince Charming took a lot of initiative…

Sallie Krawcheck:  I know that happened to me. I do remember “Sleeping Beauty”; I got the message loud and clear.

Paul Solman:  Really?

Sallie Krawcheck:  Absolutely. Well, I grew up in Charleston, South Carolina some years ago. And there was definitely the [idea that] what is right for a young man may not be ladylike for a young lady. And I don’t think we can put that aside. And in fact, Sheryl Sandberg lays out in her book “Lean In” that women, if they ask too aggressively, can be viewed as unattractive and not get what they’re asking for. So there remains a fine line. Which again gets back to the research, or what I call the recovering research analyst in me – what are the numbers, what’s the performance, what does it say — to really shine a little bit of sunlight on the issue.

Do Women Favor Women?

Paul Solman:  But if men subconsciously favor men because we have the same style, we have gender solidarity, isn’t there a danger that women would be doing the same?

Sallie Krawcheck:  Oh totally! I totally favor women! Absolutely, I tell people all the time: when I have a tough job to do, I intuitively think to myself, who can do this job? Probably a southern, middle aged, financial services blonde woman! I do it all the time! I can’t help it! She is going to get this done, I’m telling you! Because I can picture in my mind exactly what she’s going to do. I have confidence in her. We all do it.

Paul Solman:  You’re being lighthearted about it, but …

Sallie Krawcheck:  But that’s why, if we’re looking for good performance, what we need as managers — what I used to say to myself was: be very aware not to put what I thought was the best person in the job. I think those can be dangerous words in business. And hard to argue with. “I just want to put the best person in the job, right.” Oh, oh – I’m not going to argue against that (laughter), because then I’d be hurting his mom, and apple pie, and the American flag. I mean, the best person in the job, that’s capitalism! What I used to say to myself is, I want to put the best team in place.

Are Women Better Team Players?

Paul Solman:  But are women more effective in teams than men?

Sallie Krawcheck:  Women tend to collaborate, in my experience, more easily than gentlemen do. And again, I know you’re trying to push me, and I don’t want to lose the point – it’s the mixture of things, again, whether it’s gender, or whether it’s that you’re the skeptic and I’m the optimist. And you’re the one with the marketing experience, and I’m the one with the science background. And you’re the guy that’s been at the company for 20 years, and I’m the gal who came in from the outside.

So for me, when I put together teams, it was all that kind of diversity. You have six math Ph.D. Caucasian gentlemen from the Northeast of the country, great. You put one more in the mix, you haven’t added much. It’s only when you add something different that you really are able to accomplish more.

Article Source: PBS.org

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ALPS Distributors Inc. is not affiliated with Ellevate Asset Management LLC or with PBS NewsHour. Pax World and ALPS Distributors Inc. are not responsible for third party website content.

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.

Risk:

Investment in mutual funds involves risk, including possible loss of principal invested. You could lose money on your investment in the Fund or the Fund could under-perform because of the following risks: the market prices of stocks held by the Fund may fall; individual investments of the Fund may not perform as expected; the Fund’s portfolio management practices may not achieve the desired result. The Fund does not attempt to outperform the Index or take defensive positions in declining markets. Accordingly, the Fund’s performance would likely be adversely affected by a decline in the Index. Funds focusing on small/medium companies generally experience greater price volatility. Investments in emerging markets and non-US Securities are generally less liquid and less efficient than investments in developed markets and are subject to additional risks, such as risks of adverse governmental regulation, intervention and political developments. As this Fund can have a high concentration in some issuers the Fund can be adversely impacted by changes affecting issuers. There is no guarantee that the objective will be met and diversification does eliminate risk.

On 6/4/2014,the Pax World Global Women’s Equality Fund merged into the Pax Ellevate Global Women’s Index Fund (the Fund), pursuant to an Agreement and Plan of Reorganization dated March 4, 2014 (the “Reorganization”). Because the Fund had no investment operations prior to the closing of the Reorganization, Pax World Global Women’s Equality Fund (the “Predecessor Fund”) is treated as the survivor of the Reorganization for accounting and performance reporting purposes. Accordingly, all performance and other information shown for the Fund for periods prior to 6/4/2014 is that of the Predecessor Fund.

Past performance does not guarantee future results.

Distributor: ALPS Distributors, Inc., Member FINRA.
PAX004447 (8/15)

Architect William McDonough Appointed by World Economic Forum to Chair Meta-Council on the Circular Economy

 

The World Economic Forum (the Forum) has recently announced the appointment of globally recognized designer, author, educator and thought leader William McDonough as Chair of the Forum’s Meta-Council on the Circular Economy. The newly formed Council represents the Forum’s multi-sector initiative to accelerate business-driven innovation to scale the circular economy. As stated in the charge to McDonough: “The Meta-Council on the Circular Economy, which will be comprised of members from other Global Agenda Councils and have its own mandate and outputs, will focus on the redesign of policy ecosystems needed to allow systems-level change and widespread adoption of circular models—in developed, emerging and developing regions.”

As Chair of the Meta-Council, McDonough will oversee the Forum’s effort to establish proof of concept of the economic, social and environmental benefits of a circular economy through targeted programs that aim to elevate the discussion and actions to a global audience. Under the guidance of McDonough’s vision and strategic insights, the Meta-Council on the Circular Economy will convene top-tier international companies, stakeholders, policymakers and other business influencers to identify systemic changes needed to facilitate the shift to a sustainable global economy.

The Cradle to Cradle® design framework that William McDonough co-developed with Dr. Michael Braungart is an underpinning philosophy of the circular economy and the new Council. At the Forum in Davos in January, McDonough led a CEO workshop around sustainability focused on Cradle and Cradle, upcycling and the circular economy. McDonough was chosen to lead the Meta-Council on the Circular Economy due to his decades of design innovation and thought leadership dedicated to developing safe and healthy products, architecture and communities. In addition, his ability to effectively communicate Cradle to Cradle principles made him an ideal leader for rendering visible the beneficial opportunities of the circular economy. McDonough likes to encourage business innovators to design a better world “for all children of all species for all time,” as he says.

McDonough held appointments on previous Global Agenda Councils and formerly served as the Special Advisor on Sustainable Development to President Clinton, and advises corporations such as Walmart, Waste Management and others. In addition to running three companies (McDonough Innovation, MBDC and William McDonough + Partners), McDonough has also led the creation of the growing Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute, which administers the Cradle to Cradle Certified™ Products Program, as well as other influential nonprofits such as Make It Right in New Orleans.

“We are delighted that Bill has agreed to chair this Council,” says Dominic Waughray, Head of Environmental Initiatives at the World Economic Forum. “He not only brings invaluable experience and knowledge in the circular economy space, but also the creative intelligence of a designer—a role which is as central to designing objects and buildings as it is to designing collaborations and encouraging systems thinking.”

McDonough calls the appointment a deep and abiding privilege: “I am honored to be asked to take on this very important role—as a designer,” he says. “Design is the first signal of human intention. A beautiful way to wage peace is by design, through commerce. The Forum, which engages major influencers in the global economy, is a wonderful platform for this dialogue.”

The work is under way. McDonough is already building the team and will be working virtually with the Meta-Council before its gathering at the Forum’s Summit on the Global Agenda in November in Dubai, UAE.

About William McDonough

William McDonough is a globally recognized designer, thought leader and sustainable growth pioneer and a pre-eminent voice for the world-changing power of ecologically intelligent design. Architect of highly acclaimed icons of sustainable design; advisor and business strategist for leading Fortune 500 and entrepreneurial companies; co-creator with Dr. Michael Braungart of Cradle to Cradle®, a global strategy for safe, healthy design; he often attends the World Economic Forum; he is a special advisor to the Clinton Global Initiative; author of The Hannover Principles: Design for Sustainability (1992); co-author with Braungart of the widely influential Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things (2002) and The Upcycle: Beyond Sustainability – Designing for Abundance (2013), McDonough has set the terms and defined the principles of “design for sustainability” for more than 30 years, creating seminal buildings, products, texts and enterprises and preparing the ground for its widespread growth. McDonough served as Dean of the School of Architecture at the University of Virginia (1994-1999) and is currently a Consulting Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Stanford University where his archives will be housed.

William McDonough’s current design work includes product and packaging design as well as architecture at many scales. Current active architecture projects include Park 20|20 in the Netherlands and AltaSea at the Port of Los Angeles; these build on flagship projects that include Ford’s River Rouge revitalization and NASA’s new Sustainability Base, a beyond-LEED Platinum federal facility recognized with the 2014 “Good Design is Good Business” award from Architectural Record magazine. His current industrial designs are focused on designing products and redesigning packaging, including food packaging for Walmart. In recognition of his visionary work, McDonough has received the Presidential Award for Sustainable Development (1996), for exemplary leadership and public service; the U.S. EPA Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award (2003), for groundbreaking innovations in product development; and the Smithsonian’s National Design Award (2004), for outstanding achievement in environmental design. Cradle to Cradle® and C2C® are registered trademarks of MBDC.

Time magazine has recognized McDonough as “Hero for the Planet,” stating that “his utopianism is grounded in a unified philosophy that—in demonstrable and practical ways—is changing the design of the world.”

For more information visit www.mcdonough.com

About the World Economic Forum

The World Economic Forum is an international institution committed to improving the state of the world through public-private cooperation in the spirit of global citizenship. It engages with business, political, academic and other leaders of society to shape global, regional and industry agendas. Incorporated as a not-for-profit foundation in 1971 and headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, the Forum is independent, impartial and not tied to any interests. It cooperates closely with all leading international organizations.

For more information visit www.weforum.org

Iroquois Valley Farms makes ‘B Corp Best for Communities’ 2014 List for Positive Farming Community Impact

 

Chosen for Creating the Most Positive Farming Community Impact

Iroquois Valley FarmsRecently Iroquois Valley Farms, LLC was recognized for creating the most positive farming community impact by the nonprofit B Lab with the release of the third annual ‘B Corp Best for Communities’ list. Iroquois Valley Farms, which owns local and organic farms in six U.S states, is a food and farmland Company supporting sustainable food production, the mid-size family farmer and a uniquely grass-roots capital base of investors including individuals, family offices, and foundations.

The ‘B Corp Best for Communities’ list honors 86 businesses that earned a community impact score in the top 10% of all Certified B Corporations of their size on the B Impact Assessment, a rigorous and comprehensive assessment of a company’s impact on its workers, community, and the environment.

Iroquois Valley Farms is committed to the triple bottom line – social responsibility, environmental soundness, and economic viability. Twelve of the last 13 farms acquired by Iroquois Valley Farms LLC have been purchased as part of its nationally acclaimed Young Farmer Land Access Program. Consequently, the Company and its member investors are well positioned to benefit from the growth of local and organic foods produced by an expanding base of mostly young farmers. “Our commitment to keeping the farmer on the land producing healthy food at a fair profit is becoming well recognized,” points out Director of Impact John Steven Bianucci.

Iroquois Valley Farms obtained Certified B Corporation status in 2012, has been chosen by Impact Assets to its Impact 50 (IA50) worldwide impact investment list for both 2012 and 2013, and now is recognized as one of the Best in the world positively impacting Farm Communities by B Labs. Mr. Bianucci further added, “Iroquois Valley Farms is an outstanding leader in the field of agriculture, shouldering with farm families the regeneration of healthy local and organic farms and strong farm communities. Our mission is among the most important, practical, and needed in the world today.”

The ‘Best for Communities’ honorees come from over 35 different industries and 25% are based outside North America. Each is a Certified B Corporation, using the power of business to solve social and environmental problems. Today there are over 1,045 certified B Corporations, across 60 industries and 34 countries, unified by one common goal: to redefine success in business.

Individuals seeking participation in the growing business of producing local and healthy foods are investing in Iroquois Valley Farms. According to Iroquois Valley Farms CEO and Co-Founder Mr. David Miller, the investment theme is simple, “We’re offering a unique growth opportunity supported by an appreciating and renewable real asset. Focusing on soil health and local and organic foods will naturally grow revenues and enhance the long term value of these farms.”

About Iroquois Valley Farms

Iroquois Valley Farms LLC is a food and farmland company making impact investments in local and organic agriculture following triple bottom line principles. Formed in 2007, Iroquois Valley Farms was the first socially responsible farmland company in the United States focused on supporting sustainable food production and the mid-size family farmer. Iroquois Valley Farms is committed to preserving farmland, facilitating organic land management practices, supporting local food markets, providing land access opportunities to family farmers and creating values-based agriculture investment opportunities. Offering a uniquely corporate and indefinitely scalable opportunity to benefit from the production of healthy and nutritious foods, the Company has purchased over 2,100 acres of farmland, all of which is certified organic or in transition to organic production. The owned farmland is leased through long term tenancies to farmers that are independently operating their own family farm business. Corporate revenues and profitability are directly connected to the growing businesses of these farmers. For more information, visit  iroquoisvalleyfarms.com

About B Lab and B Corp

B Lab is a nonprofit organization that serves a global movement to redefine success in business so that all companies compete not only to be the best in the world, but the best for the world. B Lab drives this systemic change through a number of interrelated initiative: 1) building a community of Certified B Corporations to make it easier for all of us to tell the difference between “good companies” and good marketing; 2) passing legislation to accelerate growth of social entrepreneurship and impact investing (20 states have already passed benefit corporation legislation); 3) developing B Analytics, a customizable platform for investors to benchmark and report the impact of their global private equity portfolios; and 4) providing free, powerful tools for businesses to measure, compare and improve their social and environmental performance (more than 16,000 businesses use B Lab’s free B Impact Assessment). For more information, visit  www.bcorporation.net

Information Contact:
John Steven Bianucci, Director of Impact, IVF
(847) 401-6050  or  jsbianucci@iroquoisvalleyfarms.com

Source: Iroquois Valley Farms Press Release

 

A Filmmaker’s Journey to Change the World: From Helping the Poor to Getting Money Out of Politics

 

by Holly Mosher, award-winning filmmaker

by Holly Mosher, award-winning filmmakerIn 2006 I started off on two different film journeys. One was to make a film on world visionary Muhammad Yunus and his amazing creation of microcredit and social business that was selflessly helping millions of people and closing the economic gap in Bangladesh; the other was to follow the path of political corruption through the selfish influence of corporate money in the United States. The irony of working on two films, one following the influence of less than $100 on people’s lives versus the other showing the influence of over $10 billion spent in the last election cycle, was not lost on me.

Bonsai People – The Vision of Muhammad Yunus shows how social business can create a more just society and give people a chance to lift themselves out of poverty, while Pay 2 Play: Democracy’s High Stakes, highlights how – just as in the game of Monopoly, American politics has become winner-take-all, morphing our country into an oligarchy (as was confirmed by the recent Gilens and Page study that came out of Princeton and Northwestern).

Pay2PlayWhile making Bonsai People I learned much about the field of social enterprise and how it can change lives, altering the balance of wealth in society for the better. In Pay 2 Play, I witnessed my own country being destroyed by a relatively few wealthy people willing to spend their millions (chump change for those who are worth billions) to influence elections across the country, supporting politicians who owe them legislative favors once they are in office, making it difficult for Congress to pass any bills that are good for WE THE PEOPLE.

In Pay 2 Play we began by following the story of Coingate in Ohio, where fundraiser and activist Tom Noe was using public funds from the Bureau of Workers Compensation and investing it in rare coins, LeBron James jerseys and Beanie Babies, while peddling political interest for his own and his party’s gain. Noe was later convicted for his crimes, but all too often the corruption continues unchecked, as corporations use their get-out-of-jail-free cards, usually paying small fees compared to the large amounts they’ve “earned” taking advantage of others while breaking the law.

Little did we know when we started filming Pay 2 Play, that four years later the Supreme Court would open the floodgates of spending for political influence with its egregious Citizens United v. FEC decision allowing unlimited amounts of corporate spending in elections. And this year we saw the Supreme Court lifting certain limits on individual spending in the McCutcheon v. FEC decision, allowing individual donors up to $5.9 million per election cycle and even more incredulously allowing closely held corporations religious freedoms in the Burwell v. Hobby Lobby decision. The power of the Supreme Court to drastically change the balance of corporate power has, as of yet, gone unchecked.

People were willing to take to the streets to voice their concerns (seen by the numbers that came out in Occupy Movements around the globe) because they see how these decisions and corporate influence are destroying our democracy. MoveOn did a survey of their members in January 2014 and found that getting money out of politics was the biggest concern of their millions of members, and OurTime.org found that their members aged 18-35 said getting money out of politics was their second biggest concern.

WE THE PEOPLE understand the need to get big money out of politics if we are going to get any of the other reforms or protections passed in this country. Whether people care about sensible gun safety laws, the environment, the problems of mass incarceration, etc., corporate lobbyists are blocking real change by controlling the way their politicians vote. Further, there are many good people in office who have been corrupted by the broken system that rewards and encourages bigger donations every year.

In Pay 2 Play, we learn about the Powell Memo, which was first published in 1971 before Lewis Powell became a Supreme Court Justice. In the memo, Powell laid out a plan for corporate interests to gain power through a variety of methods, which have now been successfully implemented. We also find out about ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council, a group of legislators and corporations that create model bills that are used to create laws from state to state including voter ID, stand your ground, and many other laws. Interestingly, ALEC has filed as a 501c3 non-profit for the last 40 years, even though they write model legislation bills with “insert your state” wording so that they can be replicated across the country.

I love that Pay 2 Play highlights activists who have been heard at protests and then leaked important information, and also features organizations who are working hard day in and day out to combat this attack on democracy. The Center for Media and Democracy has a website called “ALEC Exposed” which lays out all the previously mentioned model legislation bills that were leaked. And Color for Change successfully gets different corporations to leave ALEC when consumers work together to speak up.

One message that resonates strongly throughout both Bonsai People and Pay 2 Play is the power of one person to make a difference. Viewers walk away with a deep sense of empowerment, knowing that when they put their energy towards something for positive change, they will affect the lives of those around them. It was important in Pay 2 Play to offer concrete solutions to fixing the system, from public financing and full disclosure, to a constitutional amendment affirming that corporations are not people and money is not speech.

To help organize people around these actions, our film team has partnered with over a dozen organizations that are working towards these solutions. We want to harness the power of the people inspired by the film to use their energy to affect real change.

There are many actions our partner organizations are rallying around. For example, Money Out Voters In has worked hard to get Prop 49, the Overturn Citizens United Act, on the ballot in California this November. In Montana and Colorado, where there have already been votes to overturn Citizens United on the ballot, there has been an outpouring of support from the people with over 70% voting in favor. Public Citizen and Free Speech For People are working hard on both the Government By The People Act (H.R. 20) and the Democracy for All Amendment (S.J.Res. 19), which will be voted on in the Senate, September 8th.

The day after it was announced that Prop 49 was going on the California ballot, the Wall Street Journal immediately dismissed it, downplaying the feasibility of getting a Constitutional Amendment. We point out in the film how corporate media controls the messaging; they have much to lose if we take political money out of the equation. The corporate media makes megabucks on all those negative political ads everyone is sick of seeing. Les Moonves, President of CBS, put it very simply: “[S]uper-PACS may be bad for America, but they’re very good for CBS.” Author and journalist John Nichols calls the get-money-out movement “America’s most dynamic (yet under-covered) movement.”

As a result of the media ignoring this issue, the overwhelming attitude on the street is that a constitutional amendment is impossible or will take forever. We must remember that we’ve already passed 27 Amendments since the country was founded. The map below shows that over 40 states have taken action towards a Constitutional Amendment. Remember, we only need 38 states to get there.

We have to remember Thomas Jefferson’s wise words: “The end of democracy and the defeat of the American Revolution will occur when government falls into the hands of lending institutions and moneyed incorporations.” When our financial crisis happened I was filming Bonsai People in Bangladesh and I saw how the cost of milk quadrupled as a result of America’s crash. We must remember that what happens here affects the rest of the world and take responsibility to clean up our system, not just for our well-being, but for the well-being of the world.

We can also learn from world visionary Muhammad Yunus, who refinances loans to help people make their payments by simply adjusting the length and interest of the loan. If our banking system would look to his methodologies, millions here could have kept a roof over their heads and we all would have benefited. These companies that are “too big to fail” must also be “too big to bailout.” Let’s have the oversight in place to make sure that we don’t have to pay for their errors ever again.

As I end the journey of the two films, I’m hoping that people can take the messages, own their power, and use it wisely to take back our democracy. The stakes are too high not to do so.

You can see the trailer for Bonsai People – The Vision of Muhammad Yunus at-  http://bonsaimovie.com

Article by Holly Mosher is an award-winning filmmaker who brings socially conscious films to the public. After graduating with honors from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, Holly produced a number of commercials and feature films. In 2004 she made her directorial debut with her award-winning documentary, Hummingbird, about two nonprofits in Brazil that work with street kids and women suffering domestic violence.

Afterwards, Holly produced two films on the pharmaceutical industry: Side Effects, starring Katherine Heigl, and Money Talks: Profits Before Patient Safety (www.moneytalksthemovie.com ). She co-produced Maybe Baby(www.howtocrackanegg.com/page/maybe_baby ), and executive produced Vanishing of the Bees (www.vanishingbees.com ),FREE FOR ALL! (www.freeforall.tv ), and the new Pay 2 Play: Democracy’s High Stakes.

The second film she directed, Bonsai People – The Vision of Muhammad Yunus, is currently airing on American Public Television. The Hollywood Reporter named her one of the top up-and-coming independent film producers.

A Filmmaker’s Journey to Change the World: From Helping the Poor to Getting Money Out of Politics

CEI: Mastering the Heavy Lift of Rural Economic Development

 

Article by Elizabeth Rogers, Senior Vice President of Marketing & Communications at CEI

Elizabeth Rogers, Senior Vice President of Marketing & Communications at CEIImpact investing involves more than the transfer of capital from investor to borrower. The ripple effect of community development occurs when business owners succeed, hire others, contribute to the economy and the environment, and are able to repay their loans or provide a return on equity. For CEI, a Community Development Finance Institution (CDFI) and Community Development Corporation (CDC), connecting patient and flexible capital with businesses that can provide triple-bottom-line return on investment is at the heart of our mission to help create healthy communities.

In Maine, our primary market since 1977, “getting to scale” is a different prospect than in many places around the world. We have few people and a wealth of natural resources. Over 61 percent of Maine’s population lives in rural areas, enjoying over 3,500 miles of coastline, 6,000 lakes and ponds, and 71 million acres of forest. Maine has 16,751 trees per person, more than any other state.

With an economy once dominated by large textile and paper companies, Maine’s development aspirations are not unlike many other regions in the U.S., especially rural, non-metro regions where resiliency drives the creation of new opportunity. Small businesses in Maine represent 97 percent of all employers and employ almost 59 percent of the private sector labor force. Entrepreneurs comprise our economic engine and are the source of the “local initiatives” that define our community development strategies.

CDFIs such as CEI help with the “heavy lift” of aggregating resources, technical know-how, funding and partnerships to support the visions of local groups and individuals and potential they represent in economic value.

Collaborating to Ensure Local Ownership

Collaborating to Ensure Local OwnershipAfter 40 years in business, the owners of Burnt Cove Market, V&S Variety, and The Galley, all based in the small, coastal village community of Deer Isle, Maine, decided to sell the stores. When a viable local buyer didn’t materialize, the owners, with their employees, turned to CEI and Cooperative Fund of New England, both CDFIs, to finance a worker-owned cooperative for all three businesses. With assistance from the Cooperative Development Institute and the Independent Retailers Shared Services Cooperative, the former employees created the cooperative and secured financing to purchase the stores and save 62 jobs. Island Employee Cooperative (IEC) is now Maine’s largest worker co-op and one of the larger worker co-ops in the U.S.

“Many of us have worked in these stores for decades and never imagined we could own them,” said Alan White, worker-owner and Board Chair of IEC. “Having a local funder like CEI to help us navigate the process as well as provide technical assistance was crucial to the success of this transaction and in keeping our local community vibrant.”

Meeting Mission with Content Knowledge

CEI’s five-year $128 million, Platform for Sustainable Lending and Investing, was launched in October 2013 to increase scale and impact in employment, income, and ownership for people outside of the economic mainstream. Our lending and investing practice targets traditional community development areas such as small and mid-sized businesses, affordable housing, commercial real estate, and community facilities. CEI’s place-based strategy means that we also connect capital to economic sectors essential to our rural economies. CEI staff members serve as consultants to sustainable fisheries and aquaculture, agriculture and food systems, forestry practices, and renewable energy companies, and respond to diverse strategic opportunities to invest in rural communities.

CEI’s capacity to invest responsibly with significant impact has attracted capital from national markets, and in 2014 we surpassed $1 billion in capital under management or committed. CEI and its subsidiaries are also responding to an increasing number of requests for participation in deals outside of Maine, in the Northeast, and in communities throughout rural America, and as far away as Hawaii, often in partnership with other CDFIs.

CEI’s subsidiaries & resources:

CEI Housing creates sustainable real estate development and affordable housing opportunities for the people of Maine through new construction and rehabilitation of existing properties. CEI is both a developer of and a lender to commercial real estate and affordable housing projects, multi-family and supportive housing.

CEI Ventures manages socially responsible venture capital funds. Founded in 1994 to mobilize private capital markets while advancing social goals, CEI Ventures believes there is value added to financial returns by addressing a multitude of social concerns through all stages of the investment process, and that there are compelling investment opportunities in a range of markets underserved by the financing community.

CEI Community Ventures manages the CEI Community Ventures Fund (CCVF). Licensed by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) in 2003, CCVF was formed to direct equity investments and operational assistance funds to qualifying businesses located or willing to locate in low-income communities in Maine, Vermont, and New Hampshire.

CEI Capital Management provides access to project capital through New Markets Tax Credits (NMTC). In the past 10 years CEI Capital Management has placed more than $793 million in 81 different projects across the U.S. CEI Capital Management evaluates each project according to fiscal soundness, in addition to its benefit to the local community, economic gain and positive environmental impact.

CEI Investment Notes is a fixed-asset investment option for accredited individual and institutional investors who wish to invest with their values and get a financial return, while contributing to the economic, social and environmental well being of people with low incomes and distressed communities in Maine.

Advancing New Technologies in Traditional Industries

Advancing New Technologies in Traditional IndustriesEstablished in 1816, Hodgdon Shipbuilding LLC is the oldest continuously operating boat builder in the US. Located in East Boothbay, Hodgdon has shown a remarkable capacity to adapt and change. The company has established an international reputation for high quality custom yachts and yacht interiors. The company’s use of composite materials for lighter, faster craft and its experienced, highly skilled workforce for interior work have given it an edge in a very competitive industry. Recently, Hodgdon saw an opportunity in the production of tenders for super yachts. To compete successfully in this market, the company needed a demo boat to take to prominent shows where potential customers could test its performance. CEI, CEI Investment Notes and others came together in 2012 with the necessary financing, and the demo tender was a success. Hodgdon is building its reputation – and its pipeline. It recently rented additional space in Damariscotta where the tenders are built, and the company is adding 10 new jobs to its existing workforce of 115.

Investing in People

CEI is committed to helping to create economically and environmentally healthy communities in which all people, especially those with low incomes, are able to reach their full potential. We reach our target populations by: 1) providing loans, equity and financial services directly to entrepreneurs, developers and other non profits to benefit individuals, children and families with low-incomes, 2) investing in small business, natural resources, renewable energy and real estate sectors that revitalize rural regions, 3) structuring affordable housing and community facility development deals that directly address gaps in the marketplace, 4) providing consulting services and employment agreements that include workforce development and training, and 5) engaging in local, state and federal policy initiatives that create resources for economic development.

As a CDFI and a CDC, we are held accountable to our mission by multiple external entities that require comprehensive social performance measuring and reporting. They include banks, foundations, investment institutions, government agencies, and CARS™ (the CDFI Assessment and Rating System).

Creating Financial Security

Efforts to articulate macroeconomic strategies, in the end, come down to impact, scale and sustainability, while improving the lives of individuals. Asal, a CEI Individual Development Account (IDA) client, previously worked for an American company in Iraq. When his family was targeted, they lost everything they owned before escaping to Egypt and then to the U.S. When IDA Program Coordinator Jill Lorom first met with Asal, he was cleaning rental cars at the Portland Maine airport even though he and his wife have degrees in microbiology from Iraq. His immediate priority was reliable transportation so that he could get a better job.

“Asal saved diligently for 9 months,” said Jill. “He met with me for financial coaching to track his spending and develop a plan to maximize his savings. He also increased his credit score by over 100 points. When he had completed his savings and financial education requirements, we worked to identify a vehicle that would have monthly payments he could manage.”
Asal credits the financial coaching he received in helping him to create a spending plan and make deposits every month. In January 2014, Asal received a promotion at work and his wife enrolled at the University of Southern Maine.

Find Out More

Since 1977, CEI has mobilized over $3.5 billion in loans, investments, and leveraged financing for 2,340 businesses. We’ve counseled 46,040 businesses and individuals, and supported 28,246 full-time jobs at loan closing, created or preserved 1,587 affordable housing units, and created or preserved 5,547 childcare slots. Visit us at- www.ceimaine.org

Article by Elizabeth Rogers, Senior Vice President of Marketing & Communications at CEI. Contact her at- erogers@ceimaine.org

What’s Next for Sustainable Investing? An Individual and Industry Perspective

 

by Barbara Krumsiek, CEO & President of Calvert Investments

Barbara Krumsiek, CEO & President of Calvert InvestmentsDuring my first week at Calvert Investments as President and CEO in April 1997, I received a desk plant as a congratulatory gift from a former colleague. Seventeen years later, that plant is literally a tree, dominating a special corner of my office. It is a daily reminder of my personal journey at Calvert, but also of the flourishing of sustainable and responsible investing over the past several decades. What began as a niche approach is more and more a mainstream investment strategy.

As an industry, we undoubtedly play a major role in promoting changes that will help shape a global green economy, add more diversity in the highest echelons of corporate governance and serve as the watchdogs of human rights in the business context.

But as we think about both where we’ve come from and where we’re going next, it’s critical to balance our attention to these major global movements with some of the day-to-day tasks within the industry that are necessary to advance these global objectives.

Watching our Jargon: What we call it matters

Words are powerful tools in shaping perceptions. When I announced my intention to step down as president and CEO of Calvert Investments at year-end, I purposefully chose not to use the word “retire.” It simply wasn’t consistent with my vision for the next phase of my life and career.
As leaders in the Sustainable and Responsible Investment (SRI) industry, we need to pay close attention to our lexicon. The proliferation of terms and industry jargon that has built up over time can often be frustrating to those of us doing the work. But more importantly, our industry-specific language can be truly confusing to average investors and off-putting to many financial advisors. As an industry, we need to better clarify and agree on a common set of terms associated with the spectrum of options that represent the entire sustainable investing continuum.

The confusion of our lexicon can range from misuse to misinformation. I mildly cringe when I hear someone using the term “socially responsible investing” when I might prefer “sustainable and responsible investing.” But my blood pressure skyrockets when a mainstream asset manager uses the term “ESG integration” where I feel it’s wholly unwarranted.

When words that describe our industry are perceived as confusing or outdated, we need to change them. When words such as “impact investing” are embraced by the media but twisted to exclude whole elements of our industry, we must defend them. Implementing a clear and consistent lexicon for our growing industry is overdue.

Reinventing SRI

In the early years of the sustainable investment industry, most companies did not recognize sustainability as a materially relevant concept. As time passed, some companies warmed to the concept. Today, the paradigm has shifted again and many companies embrace sustainability. The Governance & Accountability Institute reported that 72% of the S&P 500® published sustainability reports in 2013; this is up from 52% in 2012 and from 20% in 2011.

This shift in the corporate landscape has required asset managers to evaluate and evolve approaches to how we think about the investable universe. Exclusionary investing will always be a part of our industry – particularly for those individuals who feel SRI is the only way in which they want to participate in the capital markets – but new inclusionary and integrated approaches are also valid.

One area that continues to be a hallmark of a true sustainable asset manager is advocacy and engagement. We need to get better at demonstrating how we use our deeper ESG knowledge of companies and our interactions with corporate stakeholders to influence corporate behavior change. While we work to create more sophisticated portfolio approaches, we need more sophisticated ways to measure these impacts as well.

Shifting paradigms offer opportunities. We may even get to reinvent ourselves, as I will do next year. I will remain as Chair on the Board of Directors for Calvert Investments. I will also start my new role as Founding Chair of the Calvert Institute, which will contribute research to support the continued growth of the field of sustainable investing.

Connecting with millennial investors

Findings from Calvert’s most recent Brand Health Study (conducted Q4, 2013), support much of what July’s GreenMoney Journal’s focus on millennial investors discussed. But one finding particularly exposed a growth opportunity. Financial advisors and their clients (i.e., investors) are not on the same page regarding sustainable investment. This disconnect is evidenced by the fact that 82% of advisors reported waiting for clients to raise the topic, while 72% of clients indicated they are waiting for their advisor to initiate it.

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I believe advisors may be hesitant to bring the topic up because they hold somewhat outdated perceptions of sustainable investing. Advisors indicated that the number one reason they would consider sustainable investing was “to be consistent with my client’s values (82%).” Yet investors split their top reason for choosing sustainable investment between: an opportunity for strong investment performance (50%), and to diversify the portfolio (50%).

These findings suggest that we, as an industry, are still viewed by financial advisors as not focused enough on financial outcomes. Yet it’s no surprise that clients have let go of that perception and look to sustainability factors as drivers of better portfolio performance. This is demonstrated most strongly right now by the two ends of the spectrum – highly sophisticated institutional investors and relatively new investors – the millennial generation.

Our Calvert brand study also confirmed that younger investors, specifically under the age of 35, are highly receptive to sustainable investing. They are more than twice as likely to invest and 60% more likely to have researched/inquired/considered investing in a sustainable mutual fund.

I have a close personal connection with the millennial generation. My two daughters are part of that demographic. As I think about how I can guide the new Calvert Institute to make meaningful contributions to the growth of our industry, I am so motivated by younger investors, whose awareness of environmental issues and innate perspectives on inclusion and diversity will guide their investing choices and make our field even more relevant.

Supporting and advancing women in leadership

As I prepare to leave my CEO position at Calvert, I can’t help but reflect on my legacy. I am very proud that it includes the Calvert Women’s Principles®, celebrating its 10th anniversary this year. These principles are the first global code of conduct empowering, advancing and investing in women worldwide. The Women’s Empowerment Principles, based on our Calvert principles, were developed in partnership with the United Nations Development Fund for Women and today have been actualized through the UN Global Compact with more than 700 companies signing on to support women on a global basis.

Gender and ethnic diversity is well represented on Calvert’s boards, and throughout all levels of the organization. We wouldn’t have it any other way. Unfortunately, however, many companies have been painfully slow to promote women and include them on their board of directors. As I move into the next phase of my career, I am eager to throw my hat in the ring and serve on more boards, helping to refute the objection that there just aren’t enough qualified women to fill seats on public company boards.

As sustainability devotees we should applaud SRI’s successes large and small. But the central premise of our industry seems to be “there’s always more to do.” As we work together over the coming years to solve some of the large global challenges we face, we need to not lose sight of the seemingly small issues that can also help propel our industry forward and expand our reach to individual and institutional investors.

Article by Barbara J. Krumsiek, Chair, outgoing President and CEO of Calvert Investments, Inc.
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 7/31/14.

For more information visit the Calvert website – www.calvert.com

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