Summer 2020 Update on Shareholder Impact

At Blue Summit Wealth Management, we have been specializing in Sustainable & Responsible Investing for over 25 years. We always want to keep you in the loop on what’s happening in the sustainability aspect of your portfolios. As part of this 2020 Summer Update, we will post a few other shareholder impact stories throughout the summer months. Below is a special SRI update outlining the progressive work of some of our fund companies and advocacy partners.

I’ll start out with a step-by-step theme that I’ve noticed is central to how our fund companies and advocacy partners create positive impact with large corporations.

Transparency and Data Gathering, Identify Areas of Opportunity, Push for Action

Using this step-by-step approach, below are some specific areas we’ve seen traction on:

Environmental Issues:

  • Agricultural Pesticides – Kellogg’s has committed to cut out glyphosate from it’s entire supply chain. This is a step up from previous commitments to only cut it from oat and wheat supply chains. Glyphosate is the main chemical in Round-Up and is a known carcinogen.

  • Fossil Fuel companies evolve – Pushed by advocacy groups like As You Sow, leading Fossil Fuel companies are decreasing carbon intensity (emissions produced per unit of energy supplied) and expanding to renewables. Shell is committing to carbon neutrality by 2050 via $2b per year investments in wind energy, biofuels and conservation of carbon sequestering habitat.

  • Uniform accounting on sustainability metrics – The SASB (Sustainability Accounting Standards Board) standards are being increasingly adopted by companies like Fastenal and Delta. This will help corporations disclose material environmental information to investors who bake this into their overall company analysis.

Social or Governance Issues:

  • Paid Leave – The COVID-19 crisis has caused many companies to lay off workers, even though employee replacement is one of the largest business costs. Our fund companies have been arguing for paid leave policies versus layoffs. This will benefit workers, their companies, and provide more continuity for both.

  • Worker Safety – ensuring companies where workers are in close proximity have physical barriers or PPE provided. Remote working is being urged whenever possible. Companies are being urged to increase access to healthcare and increase sick leave for part-time workers.

  • Gender Equality – Companies like T-Mobile and Apple have been successfully pushed to increase women on their Board and decrease the gender pay gap.

  • Ethical Drug pricing polices – Companies like Gilead Health Sciences, who are working on anti-virals for COVID-19, have been urged to utilize ethical drug pricing in the future to keep consumer costs fair.

Every day, our fund companies and advocacy partners go to bat for social and environmental justice. Your portfolios play an important role in that process. We’ll continue to keep you updated with on-the-ground stories of how your investments align with your values!

We hope you find this article interesting and insightful.

As always, feel free to pass these articles to others or share your comments with us!

Some mutual funds contained in Blue Summit investment models perform shareholder advocacy either directly with companies or in cooperation with authorized filers like As You Sow. Blue Summit does not directly engage with companies listed above. Many, but not all clients, are invested in funds that perform this advocacy.