Blog

U.S. Sustainable Funds Hit Record-Breaking Numbers in the First Quarter of 2019

May 24, 2019 - Impact Investing, ESG by CCM Invests

According to Morningstar, over $4.1 billion of assets flowed into U.S. sustainable open-end and exchange-traded funds during the first quarter of 2019 – far surpassing the previous quarterly record inflows of $1.9 billion and on track to exceed 2018’s record-breaking net inflow of approximately $5.5 billion.1 

These strengthening inflows continue to prove the trend toward investors looking to do well and do good by investing responsibly and sustainable.  Last year marked the third straight year of record annual net flows to U.S. sustainable funds – despite the rest of the U.S. funds lowest overall asset flow since 2008.2  The first quarter number is proof that more managers and investors are adding sustainable investments to their portfolios and are recognizing environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors as drivers of value.

Like the rest of the industry, we saw one of our highest inflows at CCM in the first quarter of 2019.  We are not surprised to see these numbers given the increase and demand for impact/ESG investments.  We look forward to seeing this number continue to increase as more and more investors see integrating ESG factors in their investment process and portfolios is critical to investing effectively.

We wish you all a happy Memorial Day weekend.

1 https://finance.yahoo.com/news/u-esg-funds-gather-record-110000211.html

2 https://medium.com/the-esg-advisor/bucking-the-trend-flows-into-esg-funds-set-another-record-in-2018-79c4ddafabb7

 

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One little straw, one big difference

May 17, 2019 - Impact Investing, ESG by CCM Invests

Nearly 800,000 volunteers partnered with the Ocean Conservatory in 2017 to remove more than 20 million pieces of trash from beaches and waterways throughout the world.1  This may seem like a lot, however the amount of marine debris, specifically the concentration of plastic pollution, is growing at alarming rates. 

According to the United Nations, at least 800 species globally are affected by marine debris, and as much as 80 percent of that litter is plastic.  In the case of the North Pacific Subtropical Gyre, the accumulation of microplastics is 4-16 times greater than previously thought.  Ninety percent of seabirds have traces of plastic trash in their systems and scientists have found microplastics in 114 aquatic species, with more than half of those animals ending up on our dinner plates. And with over 300 million tons of plastics produced every year, it does not look to be slowing down.2

One culprit of the microplastic debris found in the ocean is plastic straws.  Due to the size of straws,  recycling machines cannot break them into smaller pieces.  Hence, they have made their way to the deepest trenches of our oceans and animals are ingesting, choking, and/or starving as a result.  These tiny pieces of plastic are adding up and are packing a powerful punch on the environment. 

There has been action to try to reverse these staggering effects of our plastic straw intake.  In 2018, Starbucks announced that they will eliminate plastic straws by 2020.3  Although met with mixed reviews, it helped bring awareness to the issue.  Our Last Straw is a coalition of restaurants, bars, cafes, hotels, event venues, and organizations on a mission: eliminate single-use plastic straws.  With well over 40 partners, including some large restaurant chains, they are gaining steam.4  It is organizations like these that are helping to spread awareness and take action that will hopefully help to reverse the damage we have made and set new best practices in these industries.

At CCM, we look to practice what we have preach and thus have stopped using plastic straws in our offices and recently purchased our latest conference give away – a portable stainless steel straw set.

 

1 https://oceanconservancy.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/Building-A-Clean-Swell.pdf

2 https://www.cbd.int/doc/publications/cbd-ts-83-en.pdf

3 https://stories.starbucks.com/press/2018/starbucks-to-eliminate-plastic-straws-globally-by-2020/

4 https://www.ourlaststraw.org/about

 

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New Report from US SIF: The Forum for Sustainable Responsible Investment

May 10, 2019 - Impact Investing, ESG by CCM Invests

Throughout the year, many of our impact/ESG partners release various reports discussing and evaluating sustainable and responsible investing.  These reports contain statistics, introduce new products, and help to relieve some stigmas associated with the industry. 

Our friends at the US SIF: The Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment released a report last week covering the basics of sustainable investing and providing a roadmap for asset owners to include ESG investments in their current accounts.  The report, “Moving Forward with Sustainable Investing: A Roadmap For Asset Owners” is the third, and last, of three roadmaps and provides sample investment policy statements and various impact/ESG guidelines and resources to help an investor understand how to implement the alignment of their values with their investment assets.1

Lisa Woll, the CEO of US SIF, stated, "While institutional asset owners vary widely in organizational purpose and structure, they are uniquely positioned to shift the investment industry toward sustainability”.  Ms. Woll went on to say, “By considering ESG factors in portfolio selection and shareholder engagement, asset owners can help ensure that their investments support—not contradict—their values or missions. Sustainable investing strategies can also help institutions and their asset managers minimize risk and improve returns over the long term."2

These types of reports help increase industry awareness, spread demand for value alignment, and   educate investors.  We will continue to update you on new reports in impact/ESG investing as they are disseminated and always welcome ideas for content for white papers and reports we produce at CCM.

To download a full report of the US SIF Foundation’s “Moving Forward with Sustainable Investing: A Roadmap For Asset Owners”, click here.  Don’t wait, help spread the impact/ESG word.

 

https://www.ussif.org/store_product.asp?prodid=39

2 https://www.ussif.org/blog_home.asp?Display=126

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CCM employees giving back to their alma maters

May 03, 2019 - Impact Investing, ESG by CCM Invests

With graduation season upon us, many of us become nostalgic about our college days – taking new classes, meeting friends from around the globe, and learning skills that will hopefully come in handy in the next chapter of our lives.  Our alma maters typically hold a special place in our hearts and the connection doesn’t end when we leave campus.

At CCM, our employees continuously look to give back to their alma maters in more ways than one.  Earlier this week, University of Michigan alum and CCM’s Chief Marketing Officer, Jamie Horwitz, attended a luncheon hosted by the Mary H. Weiser Food Allergy Center, Michigan Medicine.1 It’s mission is to improve the lives of individuals with food allergies by conducting comprehensive food allergy research that will significantly improve patient care and expand food allergy education, research and community services.

CCM’s CIO and Penn State alum, Andy Kaufman, recently joined the Penn State Smeal Sustainability Advisory Board.2  Smeal Sustainability Advisory Board members lend their experience and expertise to the Smeal Sustainability Council and serve as conduits to the latest corporate developments in sustainable business practices.  The Board assists in guiding Smeal’s sustainability agenda by helping to match the college’s strengths with the sustainability issues that the board members encounter as they lead their corporations’ sustainability efforts.

Alyssa Greenspan, CCM’s president and COO and Tulane alum, participates in Tulane Takeover Miami.  Tulane Takeover is a partnership between the Tulane Career Wave Initiative and the Academic Schools at the university.  The purpose of these events is to provide meaningful, career networking experiences for current students in cities where there is significant student interest.  The goal is to create as many positive connections for students so they make informed and well-thought out career decisions and plan for their future after they “Wave Goodbye” to their alma mater.3 She additionally donates her time and resources to support Tulane and its many initiatives locally in south Florida and in New Orleans.

CCM’s Chief Investment Strategist, Kristin Fafard, is also passionate about helping her alma mater, the University of Massachusetts Amherst.  Kristin is a steering committee member for Women for UMASS Amherst, raising funds for student-led initiatives that not only develop students’ leadership skills, but also fulfill unique on-campus and local community needs.

Senior Client Portfolio Manager Andy Shafter recently served as co-chair of his 25th and 30th reunion at Hobart College, helping to increase attendance and fundraise for the school.  He is also involved with his graduate alma mater where he participates in and supports events of the Northwestern University Leadership Circle Boston Regional Board.  Volunteers help increase Leadership Circle membership and raise critical funds for the University.4

Our sales and marketing specialist, Barb Seaman, serves on the University of Pennsylvania Lacrosse Sports Board.  The board meets four times a year to discuss the current state of the program and its members volunteer their resources by focusing on four key areas: student-athlete mentoring, development and alumni relations, events, and young alumni engagement.5 Barb represents the women’s team in facilitating all four categories.  The women’s lacrosse team is a very successful Division 1 program and seeks to give female athletes better success both on and off the field.

While our college days may be over, the connection and bonds we hold with our schools is long-lasting.  All of us at CCM look to continue our involvement and commitment to our alma maters in more ways than one – whether through alumni clubs, volunteering, hiring students for internships and full-time positions, and giving what we can.  #goblue #greenwave #nittanylions #wildcats #pennpride #gostatesmen

 

1 https://medicine.umich.edu/dept/food-allergy-center

2 https://www.smeal.psu.edu/sustainability/about-us/advisory-board-members

3 https://takeover.tulane.edu/content/about

4 https://wewill.northwestern.edu/s/1479/282-giving/grid-campaign.aspx?sid=1479&gid=282&pgid=7398

5 https://pennchampionsclub.com/node/585

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