What is Socially Responsible Investing?

Social investors recognize that every financial transaction has social implications as well as monetary ones. While traditional investing is aimed exclusively at maximizing financial value, social investing takes account of both financial and social bottom lines. Socially responsible investing can be a catalyst for positive social change or merely a way to help the investor sleep better at night. See our services »


News & Blog

Talking to the Hand: Why Engagement With Fossil Fuel Companies Offers So Little Promise

January 6, 2015

As more and more institutions face pressure to divest from fossil fuel companies, some are looking to shareholder engagement as an alternative. Decades of such engagement, however, have produced strikingly little result.

As a long time shareholder activist, I’ve spent more time than I can calculate filing shareholder proposals and engaging in conversation with fossil fuel companies, often in collaboration with major pension funds with large positions in such companies. I’ve engaged with ConocoPhillips, BP, Anadarko, Apache, Royal Dutch Shell, Energen and ExxonMobil on topics including carbon emissions, hydrofracking, biodiversity, human rights and more.

My takeaway from these efforts, along with a lingering concussion from too much cranial contact with brick walls, is that the time for polite conversation is over. Read more »

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Who Owns Vermont?

January 6, 2015

In the third season of the hit prime time soap opera Scandal, Vermont makes a cameo appearance as an idyllic getaway for a heroic Washington fixer and her boyfriend, a beleaguered U.S. president. As a reward for their many sacrifices on behalf of the republic, they vow to retire in the Green Mountain State, where they will live in a log cabin (presumably large enough to accommodate a full Secret Service detail) and she will make jam. We find it easy to understand why even a fictional Republic president idealizes Vermont. But in the real world of encroaching climate change and rising income inequality, Vermonters know that the state’s assets and many charms must be carefully protected and nurtured. Is Vermont really in charge of its future? And if not, what would it take to get us there?

On two back-to-back unseasonably warm days this October, Clean Yield Asset Management and the Donella Meadows Institute (DMI) hosted two New Economy Week events exploring the central importance of ownership in the new economy — ownership both at the enterprise and geographical levels. Working with the DMI was a natural fit, and not simply due to its convenient proximity two buildings down from us in Norwich. DMI was founded to promote sustainability through research and organizing initiatives inspired by the writings of pioneering systems thinker Donella Meadows. Its website explains, “We have chosen to focus on the New Economy and regional resilience movements as the ideal points of engagement for applying systems thinking. Our Sustainable Economies Program is focusing on Vermont as a model as we build networks to help achieve collective impact in the area.” Read more »

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Company Profiles

The Clean Yield – Winter 2015 Edition Now Online

January 7, 2015

The Winter edition of The Clean Yield is now online and available on PDF.

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HCP: Real Estate for the Expanding Healthcare Sector

December 12, 2014

HCP (ticker: HCP), based in Irvine, California, is a real estate investment trust (REIT) that owns and manages healthcare real estate.

The healthcare sector of the economy has compelling demographics that are expected to lead to increased demand for products and services, including senior housing and medical care. The healthcare industry is the largest in the U.S. and is projected to grow 6% annually from 2014 through 2022. The healthcare real estate sector seems particularly attractive and may be insulated from some of the cost pressures elsewhere in the healthcare system. Furthermore, less than 15% of the U.S. healthcare real estate market is owned by public REITS such as HCP, so there are also opportunities to grow through acquisition of existing properties.

HCP seeks to reduce risk in several ways. It typically uses long-term leases that have contractual rent increases (a majority of leases expire after 2023). The company also generally uses a “triple-net lease” structure, in which tenants effectively pay all property-related expenses (real estate taxes, building utilities and insurance, and common-area maintenance capital expenditures).

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