Part 4 28th Annual SRI Conference in San Diego. Search #AllinForImpact on Twitter to see more posts. See Parts 1, 2, and 3. Yes, I know, this conference was held months ago but I’m still digesting… maybe until the next one. I could spend a productive year just exploring links to the work of the speakers. Mark your calendar for November 1-3, 2018. The SRI Conference returns to the Broadmoor in Colorado Springs. Get on the mailing list. Continue Reading →
Tag Archives | ESG
Directors Forum 2018: Directors, Management & Shareholders in Dialogue brings together investors, directors and management to engage in open, off-the-record dialogue about today’s pressing governance issues. Speakers will put a spotlight on the escalating impact of “corporate culture” on business success.
Hosted by Corporate Directors Forum, Directors Forum 2018 will be held on January 21-23, 2018 at the University of San Diego. It is designed to encourage interaction between attendees and the nation’s leading corporate governance authorities. Continue Reading →
CalSTRS was named a Best Place to Work in Money Management for 2017 by Pensions & Investments magazine. This year’s honor is the third CalSTRS has garnered—the only public pension plan to do so. They could cinch a fourth such honor by surveying member values.
Pensions & Investments, a global news source for money management, created the survey and award program, which is dedicated to identifying and recognizing the best employers in the money management industry. Continue Reading →
As millennial-aged employees now represent the majority of the U.S. workforce, it is increasingly important that corporate management finds ways to engage them in the company. Creating 401k plans which connect to their core values — like solving human, social and environmental problems through their work and investments — can be a huge advantage to the company as a whopping 85% of millennials surveyed in the 2016 US Trust study said they consider their investment decisions as “a way to express their social, political, and environmental values.” This attracts the best talent, spurs employee engagement, extends retention, and sparks innovation. Continue Reading →
Investor Response to Chamber: Letter
Representatives of hundreds of investors with trillions of dollars in assets delivered a letter to the SEC on November 9, 2017, An Investor response to U.S. Chamber’s Proposal to Revise SEC Rule 14a-8 (report).
We noted with interest the November 1, 2017, guidance contained in Staff Legal Bulletin No. 14I. While we are reserving judgment about how the guidance may apply in practice, we are particularly pleased by Director Hinman’s accompanying statement that the guidance is not intended to “make things easier or harder for one side or the other, . . . [but] to improve the process.” We strongly support that goal and plan to actively monitor the SEC staff no-action process during the upcoming proxy season to determine whether the goal was achieved.
Walden Asset Management has engaged a number of investment managers and mutual funds on their proxy voting practices, specifically challenging voting records on shareholder resolutions addressing significant social and environmental issues. I see this as a major victory. However, more Vanguard shareholders need to speak out to ensure momentum continues. Contact Vanguard.
In 2017, Walden filed resolutions with two Vanguard equity index funds that requested a review of their proxy voting at portfolio companies, particularly on shareholder resolutions focused on climate change. While mutual funds are not required to hold annual meetings for investors, Vanguard scheduled a November meeting for other reasons, thus setting up the opportunity for a vote on the Walden resolution. Continue Reading →
The Global Stewardship at Work report, its 2015—16 sustainability report. was released by the California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS). This is the third year the system published the report, which is based on the Global Reporting Initiative G4 Guidelines.
In 2015, CalSTRS became the first U.S. public pension plan to issue a sustainability report that met the GRI guidelines. And this year, CalSTRS continues to report sustainability-focused disclosures that adhere to the GRI performance metrics. The Global Stewardship at Work report also features detailed reporting of material topics that were prioritized based on feedback from stakeholder surveys, including responses from CalSTRS members, employees, special interest groups, and industry/business partners. Continue Reading →
The Global Sustainable Investment Alliance (GSIA) released its biennial Global Sustainable Investment Review 2016, showing that global sustainable investment assets reached $22.89 trillion at the start of 2016, a 25% increase from 2014.
Sustainable investment encompasses the following activities and strategies:
- Negative/exclusionary screening,
- Positive/best-in-class screening,
- Norms-based screening,
- Integration of ESG factors,
- Sustainability themed investing,
- Impact/community investing, and
- Corporate engagement and shareholder action.
Yet, many in the mainstream press continue to disparage sustainable investing. This morning, Justin Baer of the Wall Street Journal reported that “interest in so-called environmental, social and governance investing is surging.” (State Street Offers New Tool to Gauge Environmental, Other Social Risks) There is nothing “so-called” about the movement to ESG investing. It is real.
Walden Moves BlackRock: Background
A number of investors, led by Walden moves BlackRock on climate Risk. Walden Asset Management and the Center for Community Change, along with the City of Seattle Employees’ Retirement System and First Affirmative Financial Network, filed a shareholder resolution requesting a review of BlackRock’s proxy voting process and record on climate change.
Following extensive engagement and constructive dialogue between BlackRock, Walden and a number of investors, the shareholder resolution was withdrawn. As a result of the dialogue, BlackRock has updated its website to provide fresh insights into the ways it believes climate change creates risks and opportunities for companies. BlackRock also noted that climate risk will be a priority for their engagement with companies and boards throughout 2017 and 2018. Continue Reading →
Even in Washington, the numbers are impressive. The Council of Institutional Investors, who met in Washington DC this week, represents 23 trillion (with a t) dollars, mostly made up of retirement and other savings of working families. Compare that to the entire budget of the US government, less than two trillion a year. Like most industry group meetings in Washington, this one had presentations on what to expect from Congress and the regulatory agencies and how millennials will change the way the members do business, plus snack breaks and wireless sponsored by firms trying to sell products and services to the attendees. But the a two and a half day session featured repeated agenda topics on climate change and what are called ESG issues, suggesting that pension funds may step in where governments have failed. Continue Reading →
Anti-hypocrisy proposals could be the most important ones of the season. I purchased shares on Franklin Resources (BEN) so that I could file anti-hypocrisy proposals, of the same variety we get to vote on at the February 15, 2017, annual meeting. I had not owned my shares for a year as of the filing deadline last year, so did not submit a proposal. Fortunately, other shareholders have submitted exactly the type of anti-hypocrisy proposals I would have put forward. I will concentrate on the first anti-hypocrisy proposals and will cover the other items only briefly.
Votes at funds, like Franklin Resources, are especially important since the votes these funds cast at annual meetings drive the outcomes. We can’t expect to win important issues like Majority vote provisions to elect directors, requested reports on climate change activities or voting down outrageous pay packages until huge funds like Franklin Resources vote with us. Large commercial funds, such as Franklin Resources, often have a built-in conflict of interest. They want to service corporate clients, so do not want to offend corporate managers. At the same time, as investors in their funds, we want them to monitor management and be critical when that is in our best interest. These resolutions seek better alignment between the interest of investors in funds offered by Franklin Resources and the proxy positions taken by those funds. Continue Reading →
After making the decision to apply the principles of SRI investing, many clients embark on the initial step of selecting a core stock fund. Traditional investors have literally hundreds of highly efficient core investment solutions. However, SRI investors aren’t so blessed—which is why I put together this core list of Best SRI Funds.
Best SRI funds need to start out by being financially sustainable. Some fund companies seem to believe that they can rake in higher fees on the backs of well meaning investors. The primary objective of a core fund is to match the market with as little cost drag as possible. Continue Reading →
The Department of Labor (DOL) rescinded Interpretive Bulletin 2008-2 relating to the Exercise of Shareholder Rights and replaced it with Interpretive Bulletin 2016-01 which reinstates the language of Interpretive Bulletin 94-2 with some modifications. US SIF supports this change as IB 2008-2 was not only inconsistent with prior guidance, but may have discouraged ERISA plan fiduciaries from exercising their shareholder rights.
The guidance appropriately notes the positive role fiduciaries play through the exercise of shareholder rights. Additionally, this guidance also reinforces the language of IB 2015-1 on economically targeted investments which clarified that environmental, social and governance (ESG) impacts can be intrinsic to the market value of an investment. Continue Reading →
US SIF Foundation Releases 2016 Biennial Report on UA Sustainable, Responsible and Impact Investing Trends. Sustainable, responsible and impact investing (SRI) assets now account for $8.72 trillion, or one in five dollars invested under professional management in the United States according to the US SIF Foundation’s biennial Report on Responsible and Impact Investing Trends 2016, which was released today. Continue Reading →
WEST SACRAMENTO, CA – The California State Teachers’ Retirement System is searching for public equity investment managers with an environmental, social and governance focus. There are up to six new ESG manager spots available for consideration.
This is a great opportunity for ESG focused PE Managers. You will be working with one of the most progressive funds in the entire world. CalSTRS even announces their proxy votes in advance of annual meetings so that others can follow their lead. See job opportunities. Continue Reading →
I continue my review of The Handbook of Board Governance: A Comprehensive Guide for Public, Private, and Not-for-Profit Board Member. With the current post, I provide comments on Part 7 of the book, Governance of Sustainability. This is why I got into the field as an NIMH Fellow in the late 1970s studying what forms of corporate governance would be best for corporations AND society. This part of the Handbook is worthy of a separate 100-page book by itself, probably with broader appeal to the general public. Continue Reading →
Sustainable, responsible and impact, SRI investors, have influenced the investment industry, companies, governments and other actors to address environmental, social and governance (ESG) challenges in four major areas, according to The Impact of Sustainable and Responsible Investment, a report released today by the US SIF Foundation.
Influence of SRI Investors
Drawing upon a range of data, surveys and examples, the report focuses on four significant impacts of sustainable, responsible and impact – SRI investors over the past 25 years. SRI investors have:
- changed the investment industry, leading to more SRI products and greater access to expert practitioners;
- improved public companies by stepping up active shareholder ownership and engagement on ESG issues;
- aided communities and individuals via community investing and other initiatives; and
- influenced public policy and launched organizations to promote sustainable investment.
CLARCOR Inc. (CLC) hosted its Annual General Meeting on March 29, 2016. A shareholder proposal led by Walden Asset Management for environmental, social and governance (ESG) reporting received 61% support from shareholders, excluding abstentions.
With this result, CLARCOR joins a small minority of companies to ever experience a majority vote in support of on an environmental or social resolution. According to proxy advisor ISS, just one environmental or social proposal passed out of 474 submitted in 2015. Continue Reading →
Franklin Resources, Inc. (BEN) is a publicly owned asset management holding company, which includes Franklin Templeton Investments, and is one of the stocks in my portfolio. Their annual meeting is on February 17, 2016. ProxyDemocracy.org had collected the votes of two funds when I checked. I voted against three directors and for the proposal for a report on voting incongruities regarding climate change voting. I voted with the Board’s recommendations 58% of the time. View Proxy Statement.
Franklin Resources: Special Note
This is one of the most important votes of the year because of the vitally important proxy proposal submitted by Zevin Asset Management, along with First Affirmative Financial and Friends Fiduciary Corporate. The proposal asks our company to report on incongruences between the proxy voting practices of Franklin Resources and its stated policy positions on climate change. If they are essentially ‘green-washing,’ this proposal should lead to a change in how they vote. If their proxy votes are already aligned with their policies and public statements, a report will provide an opportunity for good publicity. Continue Reading →
Parametric Portfolio Associates LLC (“Parametric”), a majority owned subsidiary of Eaton Vance Corp. (NYSE:EV) and a participant at the All In For Impact conference (#AllinForImpact) in Colorado Springs, announced the creation of two new proprietary responsible investing strategies, Parametric ESG Domestic and Parametric ESG International. Continue Reading →
All In For Impact: The 26th Annual SRI Conference will take place November 3–5, 2015 at The Broadmoor, Colorado Springs, CO. I am pleased to announce conference scholarships for SRI/ESG investing are now being made available to students and young professionals.
The SRI Conference is an annual gathering of the responsible investment industry designed to stimulate, inspire, and serve the needs of investment professionals, as well as institutional and high net worth investors who seek to direct investment capital in positive, healthy, transformative ways—toward a truly sustainable future. Continue Reading →
I hope those concerned with good corporate governance are also concerned with stewardship. Investors shouldn’t be making money by investing in products that harm the environment. Their are plenty of alternatives to plastic microbeads.
This 2-minute video “explainer” shows how tiny plastic microbeads go down the drain and into our rivers, lakes, and oceans. We can do to stop this ridiculous assault on our public waters. TAKE ACTION!
Almost three-quarters of investment professionals worldwide (73 percent) take environmental, social, and corporate governance — ESG issues into consideration in the investment process, according to the CFA Institute ESG Survey, a new survey of CFA Institute members created by CFA Institute and the Investor Responsibility Research Center Institute (IRRC Institute). In addition, 64 percent of survey respondents consider corporate governance issues, 50 percent consider environmental issues, and 49 percent consider social issues in investment decisions. Only 27 percent do not consider ESG issues. Continue Reading →
CivicSpark, a partnership of California’s Local Government Commission and the Governor’s Office of Planning & Research is an AmeriCorps program dedicated to building capacity in local governments to address climate change. They are now recruiting team members for the 2015-16 service year. Follow on Facebook and Twitter @LGC_media.
CivicSpark: Climate Leaders
If you are interested in joining the next generation of climate leaders, building your already considerable skills and creating a meaningful and lasting impact, now is the time to start the application process.
CivicSpark members work on projects that provide local governments with the support they need in their climate and sustainability initiatives. (Local governments can also propose projects at this time and volunteer support is welcome.) Continue Reading →
I used to believe that democratic power was exercised like the creation of an impressionist masterpiece — each individual offering an artistically placed paint stroke that blends into the whole as you step back. As I have matured, I now see that those who are able to influence others around them are most effective in shaping the spirit of the painting. Power isn’t wielded by isolated individuals but by networks of individuals who are bonded by trust and influence. Continue Reading →
I saw this job opening for a corporate governance analyst at TIAA-Cref and thought I should post it, since I would apply for it myself if I were a few decades younger. Please let me know if you see it here and end up getting the job. That would be amazing!
Job ID: v1702132
Job Title: Corporate Governance Analyst
Location: New York, NY US Continue Reading →
The 4th annual Global Proxy Review has now been published by the Global Unions Committee on Workers’ Capital (CWC), a joint initiative of the International Trade Union Confederation, Trade Union Advisory Committee to the OECD and Global Unions Federation.
The report and interactive website encourages investors to take an active role in proxy voting oversight for global equity portfolios. Readers will learn how to take active role in proxy voting oversight for global equity portfolios. Continue Reading →
This is the third in a multi-part series on the main program of the 25th annual SRI Conference on Sustainable, Responsible, Impact Investing held November 9–11, 2014 at The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs. See also Video Friday: What is Sustainable, Responsible, Impact Investing?, Violating Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Increases Industry Risks, Surveys: Nonprofit Board Members & SRI 2014 Conference Attendees, 25th Annual Conference on Sustainable, Responsible, Impact Investing, Part 1 and Part 2. The Agenda page of the Conference site now has links to video, audio and presentation slides. Continue Reading →
The 25th annual SRI Conference on Sustainable, Responsible, Impact Investing was held November 9–11, 2014 at The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs. I’ve been working with many of the organizers, sponsors and participants for years but this was my first time to the SRI annual conference. I attend a lot of conferences every year but this one was the most fun — and probably the most informative. I’ll be back. In fact, I’ve already blocked out November 3-5 on my calendar for next year. This is the first of a several part series on the conference. Continue Reading →
GMI Ratings, the leading provider of research, data and analytics on environmental, social, governance (ESG) and forensic accounting risks affecting the performance of public companies, is introducing Accounting and Governance Risk (AGR®) ratings on over 9,000 companies in nearly 60 emerging market countries. GMI’s AGR ratings capture a variety of accounting irregularities and corporate governance weaknesses associated with negative events. With the addition of the emerging market companies, GMI now offers AGR ratings on nearly 29,000 companies worldwide. Continue Reading →