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Video: HIP Investor CEO and Founder Talks Diversity at Net Impact ’14

triple-pundit logoDecember 10, 2014 | Triple Pundit

Video: Paul Herman of HIP Investor Talks Diversity at Net Impact ’14

 

HIP Investor CEO and Founder, R. Paul Herman, was interviewed by Triple Pundit at the National Net Impact 2014 Conference. The video is part of the Talking Diversity series, a collaboration between Triple Pundit and Symantec, which features a variety leaders, activists, and students to share their thoughts on why diversity and inclusion are important to business and to sustainability.

In the video, Herman describes how diversity is a part of sustainability and how it can boost bottom-lines and investment portfolios.

 

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Engaging Employees via Sustainable 401(k) Investing

CRmag
August 2014  CR Magazine | Paul Herman, Yelena Danziger & Judi Brown
Engaging Employees via Sustainable 401(k) Investing (Page 40)

Rating sustainability of individual retirement plans

Every time you drink one liter of Coca-Cola, you consume 2.12 liters of water—if you account for Coke’s production process. That ratio is more water-efficient than a beer, but it’s still more than double what you may expect. To ensure its long-term sustainability, global beverage leader Coca-Cola has committed to improving its water efficiency and, by 2010, replenishing 100 percent of the water used in its retail products. At year-end 2012, Coca-Cola has reduced water intensity 21 percent since 2004.

How could Coca-Cola more deeply focus all of its 130,600 employees towards an even faster reduction in water usage? By showing its 68,000 participants in Coke’s 401(k) plan the water-efficiency ratios in their own investment portfolios. Coca-Cola’s 401(k) is used by about 91 percent of its 75,000 US staff. Thus, communicating and educating all 401(k) participants on their personal 401(k) portfolio’s water-efficiency could be a very effective engagement approach for realizing its sustainability goals.

One of the first 401(k) plans to rate the sustainability of its participants’ holdings is a 190-person CPA firm, Kahn Litwin Renza (KLR), one of the largest accounting and business-consulting firm in New England and one of the top 100 nationally. Mike Tousignant, one of KLR’s senior partners, saw rating the 401(k) for its sustainability as a learning tool about potential risks and opportunities in financial value that are typically classified as intangibles on the balance sheet. For example, employee “assets” (or human-capital) are not even classified as a balance- sheet asset, but as an expense on the income statement. Yet a company could not run without this important asset, as many CEOs claim.

Read the full article HERE.

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Just How Sound is Shareholder-Value Primacy

CRmag
May 8, 2014  CR Magazine | R. Paul Herman & Srdana Pokrajac
Just How Sound is Shareholder-Value Primacy

The debate around shareholder-value primacy heated up at the end of February when a representative from conservative think tank National Center for Public Policy Research (NPCCR) asked the Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) CEO Tim Cook to commit to act only for the benefit of shareholder return on investment (ROI), expressing concern that Apple’s investments in renewable energy might jeopardize company and shareholder value.

NCPPR questioned the soundness of Apple’s membership in the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA), which supports sustainability initiatives and encourages its members to apply such views in their business operations. Apple’s shareholders seem to align with Apple, and NCPPR’s proposal only obtained 2.95 percent of the votes at the annual shareholder meeting.

In her new book, “The Shareholder Value Myth,” Cornell University Law Professor Lynn Stout seeks to debunk the shareholder primacy myth, or “ideology” as she defines it. She points out that there is no legal requirement to maximize shareholder value in the United States. Stout has researched the question of company purpose and corporate governance for the past two decades and has come to a conclusion that the belief that the purpose of the company is to maximize shareholder value does not derive from corporate law, but rather from business practice and academia.

Read the full article HERE.

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Green Bonds can benefit society — and investor portfolios

CRmag
February 13, 2014  CR Magazine | R. Paul Herman & Srdana Pokrajac
Green Bonds can benefit society — and investor portfolios

A CFOs and corporate executives courting those investors who are prioritizing sustainability in their portfolios now have a new type of financing to consider: Green Bonds. These new financial instruments seek both ecological and economic benefits.

In November 2013, Bank of America (NYSE: BAC) issued a three-year, fixed-rate $500 million Green Bond as part of the bank’s 10-year, $50 billion environmental business initiative whose proceeds will target alleviation of climate change, accelerate the shift to alternative energy resources, and spur energy-efficient economic solutions.

Showing the financial industry is getting serious, 13 major global investment banks committed to the Green Bonds Principles (GBP), a set of voluntary guidelines designed to assess issuances of Green Bonds for multiple types of investors: development banks, multilateral institutions, investment banks, and corporations. The principles also recommend transparency and disclosure, and promote integrity. Green Bonds were developed by the World Bank and the SEB Group in 2008. Green Bonds have initially attracted mostly development banks, but according to Reuters, nearly $10 billion has been raised, and half of that was raised only in November 2013.

Read the full article HERE.

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‘Urgent’ conservation threat from climate change leads US group to fossil fuel divestment

B&Gt
February 11, 2014  Blue & Green Tomorrow | Alex Blackburne
‘Urgent’ conservation threat from climate change leads US group to fossil fuel divestment

A US conservation organization has divested 70% of the exposure to fossil fuel stocks it previously held, because of the “urgency of the threat” that climate change poses to a number of animal species.

The Conservation Breeding Specialist Group (CBSG), based in Apple Valley, Minnesota, said its conservation efforts would be undermined in the future as global average temperatures rise.

It was therefore seeking 100% divestment from the fossil fuel industry by 2017, with its first step to divest 70% of its exposure.

“CBSG is focusing attention on the issue of climate change due to the urgency of the threat to species and the need for accelerated action in the search for solutions”, said Onnie Byers, CBSG chair.

Read the full article HERE.

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Corporate Compassion

CRmag
November 2013  CR Magazine | R. Paul Herman & Srdana Pokrajac
Corporate Compassion

How to reduce risks in the supply chain’s sourcing from land and labor.

Capital One’s ad campaign asks, “What’s in your wallet?” But do you know what’s in your mobile phone? Specifically, the value of the minerals in your phone could be worth more than the cash you carry in your wallet.
Many minerals used in electronics—from gold and silver to tin and tungsten—are discovered, dug up, and distilled from war- torn countries such as the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where labor is not necessarily free and worker safety can be overrun by violence.

If you Google “corporate activism,” the first search result is “anti-corporate activism,” which presumes that corporations are detrimental to the public good and democracy. Yet forward-thinking and well-managed corporations fight human rights abuse in their supply chains and industries. Recently, at Net Impact’s 2013 annual conference, a panel theme asked, “Are corporations more effective activists than individuals?”

During the past century, the notion of corporations as positive activists was uncommon or non-existent. The 20th century activist movement originated from like-minded individuals who formed non-profit organizations or non-governmental agencies to point out infringement of human or animal rights, or environmental issues caused by big businesses. While citizens and stakeholders have raised awareness related to human rights during the 20th century, 21st century leading brands have taken the lead to mitigate the risks in their supply chain sourcing.

Read the full article HERE.

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Save on Taxes, Save the World

CRmagOctober 2014  CR Magazine | R. Paul Herman, Ryan Gerlach, Eddie Bernhardt & Samuel Hecker
Save on Taxes, Save the World

Can you save on taxes and save the world? Investors seeking both impact and financial return can pursue this goal by considering municipal bonds that are rated highly for impact and sustainability.

Muni bonds are issued by governments (cities, counties, states, as well as regional water, wastewater and transportation systems) and non-profits (universities, hospitals, and energy firms). More than half of the $3.7 trillion in United States muni bonds are held by individual investors who seek lower risk and can benefit from no federal income tax on muni-bond interest. (Several states offer tax-free muni bonds for in-state citizens). Muni-bonds are tax-free, because they provide a public benefit to society.

While investors scrutinize the sustainability of corporations and equities, little interest is focused on how well the issuers of bonds—governments and nonprofits—deliver on that promised benefit to society. An impact rating across five categories of impact (health, wealth, earth, equality and trust) can quantify and measure government and non-profit performance, risks and opportunities.

Every community possesses a range of knowable but typically ignored assets and liabilities. Kiki Tidwell, a trustee of the Tidwell Idaho Foundation, seeks to avoid the risks associated with fossil-fuel energy such as coal. Bonds issued by electricity- generator InterMountain Power, which burns coal in Utah?and ships power to California, do not price in the risks to the environment, such as the results of increased pollution—which could lead to financial risks from a future carbon tax.

Read the full article HERE.

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Fixed-Income Solution For Impact Investing

FA-mag
August 23, 2013  FA Magazine | Jerilyn Klein Bier
Fixed-Income Solution For Impact Investing

Part of the problem is that few bond portfolios are packaged or even assessed using impact criteria. In addition, credit ratings from Standard & Poor’s, Moody’s and Fitch Ratings fail to address social and environmental impacts that could affect future financial performance. For example, AA or A-rated bonds issued to a coal-burning power plant might not price in the risks of pollution or negative health outcomes.

But everything clicked when a mutual client introduced SNW Asset Management to HIP Investor Inc., a San Francisco-based firm that rates more than 4,000 companies globally for impact and advises on more than $120 million in assets. Initially, the firms partnered to rate 200 municipal bond issuers. That number has grown to 500 and keeps expanding. In early 2013, they began offering custom impact-rated bond portfolios.

As of August, the SNW HIP-rated bond portfolios totaled $70 million in assets. Eighty percent of that amount comprised tax-free municipal bonds, with the remainder split among government and corporate bonds (7.5 percent each) and taxable municipal bonds (5 percent).

Read the full article HERE.

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Resilient Portfolios & Fossil-Free Pensions

May 31, 2013  350.org | Go Fossil Free
Resilient Portfolios &  Fossil-Free Pensions

Adapting City And State Pension Funds For Resiliency To 21st Century Risks And Fossil Fuel Exposure

Climate change and the fossil fuel industry’s current business plan pose a pressing risk to city and state pension funds. If pension funds remain tied to past assumptions and ignore emerging trends, they could soon face increased risks and potentially severe losses to their portfolios.

This paper highlights compelling evidence that fossil=fuel divestment is not only a moral responsibility, but a feasible and prudent way to address this portfolio risk. The paper also provides a set of fossil=free investing choices that can deliver solid returns, as well as help address the climate crisis, advance clean energy development, and increase the health and wellness of communities.

Read the full article HERE.

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‘HIP’ Sustainable Real Estate Portfolio Recognized As Top 10 Performer By Informa

HIP Investor’s Investment Approach Prioritizes REITs That Deliver
Environmental and Social Results that Link to Stronger Financial Performance

SAN FRANCISCO –  Can real-estate investment trusts (REITs) investing in firms that manage their properties using a more environmentally sustainable and socially responsible approach realize better financial performance?  Yes, say the latest financial results for the latest 3-month and 1-year periods tracked by InformaPSN, recognizing Top 10 performance by an investment manager that integrates these value-creating factors into their portfolio selection criteria.

The HIP Sustainable Real Estate Portfolio achieved “top gun” performance – a top 10 strategy in a field of 98 REIT strategies tracked – for the HIP REIT’s quarterly (#3) and one year (#7) performance ending March 31, 2013, according to Informa PSN, a leading financial services performance database.  The portfolio is managed by HIP (Human Impact + Profit) Investor Inc., a San Francisco based manager of HIP-rated portfolios – and a rater of more than 4000 public companies, covering $45 trillion of market value (85% of global equity value), $24 trillion of corporate bonds, and more than 300 muni-bond issuers.

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