Today, many of the world’s largest private and public organizations support a mission to work on solving the world’s most prominent problems. This includes helping to fight poverty, advocating for human rights, and protecting the Earth’s climate. However, the question arises, are these large organizations are doing enough? Are we neglecting an obvious tool for impact? In a world in which economic and financial systems directly shape environmental and social conditions, are our investments helping to advance our mission or are they undercutting it?1Read More
The Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN) is a nonprofit organization that aims to spread awareness and increase effectiveness of impact investing worldwide. The GIIN builds critical infrastructure and supports activities, education, and research that helps accelerate the development of a coherent impact investing industry.1 Every year, GIIN releases their Annual Impact Investor Survey and creates a report based on the results. This year’s report presents findings from 266 of the world’s top impact investors. This was the most respondents GIIN has ever received making this the most comprehensive and conclusive assessment of the impact investing market.Read More
As a member of the so-called “Gen Z”, I hear comments every day about the trends and characteristics of my generation. An increasingly popular movement amongst my younger age group revolves around making positive change – whether through volunteering, creating social awareness, or charitable donations.Read More
The Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) is a federal law enacted in 1977 to encourage banks and depository institutions to meet the credit needs of the communities in which they do business, including low- and moderate-income (LMI) neighborhoods. On the investment test, CRA credit typically requires investing in an institution’s nearby assessment area(s), but in areas hit by major disasters, CRA credit can be extended. Last year, after Hurricane Maria, federal banking officials extended CRA credit to financial institutions anywhere in the United States to include hurricane-stricken Puerto Rico.1 Eligibility for CRA credit in Puerto Rico is intended to increase capital flowing into communities as they try to rebuild.Read More
In the past year, many major U.S. cities have reported significant progress in housing for their homeless.1 While homelessness has been on the decline nationally, the trend, unfortunately, does not hold true in several major cities. In Los Angeles, the number of homeless people increased by 12 percent in LA county and 16 percent in the city last year. According to the county’s Homeless Service Authority, they helped 21,631 people into permanent housing during 2018, yet economic conditions forced thousands more into homelessness due to economic forces and the interlocking systems of foster care, mental health, criminal justice, and the housing market.2Read More
Summertime is usually associated with warm weather, days at the pool – or the golf course – and vacation. For some of us at CCM, summer can mean travel, especially to conferences throughout the U.S. This week kicked off the summer conference season with the US SIF conference in Minneapolis and the Catholic Health Assembly in Dallas. CCM team members attended and networked with many of the attendees, including innovative influencers in the impact/ESG investing space.
Depending on the location of the conference – or in some cases, the destination of our team member’s travel – we ask our team to learn more about the stories behind our investments by conducting local on-site visits. We always enjoy seeing first-hand the properties or small businesses that our clients’ investments are financing and how they are helping to create positive impact. At many of our visits, we are able to meet with residents, employees and supportive staff, as well as receive a tour of the property and neighborhood.
Our team thoroughly enjoys visiting the properties as each visit gives us more insight into our direct impact on the community. We value the opportunity to meet the people behind each of our investments and share details of our visits with our investors in our Annual Impact Report.
Image: CCM's President & COO, Alyssa Greenspan visits a property in Minneapolis, MN
This summer we already have three scheduled on-site visits throughout the U.S. – one of them being our 2018 Annual CCM Impact Award Winner, the Hawthorne Eco Village Apartments in Minneapolis, Minnesota. To read more about three of our 2018’s on-site visits, our 2018 Annual Impact Report can be found here.
We look forward to reporting back on our upcoming on-site visits and happy summer!Read More
As a firm that prides itself on a client-centric culture, we always look to align the values-focused nature of our client base with our own practices. From inclusion in the hiring and promotion process to implementing programs that support work/life balance, the environment and our local communities, we like to practice what we preach.
As such, we recently went “ROWE” - Results Only Work Environment. ROWE is a human resource management strategy co-created by Jody Thompson and Cali Ressler where employees are paid for results (output) rather than the number of hours worked.1
ROWE keeps it very simple. It promotes a culture of efficiency by focusing specifically on the work. This strategy puts the role of working directly into the employees’ hands, empowering their ability to contribute to the greater good, which builds passion and willingness to strive for greatness in the workplace. As a result, an employee’s performance becomes their responsibility, and therefore it promotes a drive to get things done well and expediently.2
The more we learned about ROWE, the more we felt it aligned with the rest of the values of our firm. Although we are still in early stages of implementation, it is off to a promising start. The program helps to enhance our culture by focusing on efficiency, results, and most importantly, helping our clients.
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.
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.
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.