Trillium Asset Management
Trillium Asset Management: Investing For a Better World.
Trillium Asset Management is the oldest independent investment advisor focused exclusively on sustainable and responsible investing. The employee-owned firm manages $2.2 billion as of December 31, 2014.
Trillium believes that companies that adhere to strong positive environmental, social and governance (ESG) policies can increase profitability and develop a competitive edge. Over the years, they have found that integrating ESG factors into the investment process is the best way to deliver long-term, risk adjusted returns to clients.
Founded in 1982, Trillium has a long history of managing equity and fixed income portfolios for a diverse group of investors, including high net worth individuals, foundations, endowments, religious organizations, and other non-profits, as well as financial advisors and their clients.
Trillium was created to provide a space for clients to invest their money in line with their values. Under the leadership of the late Joan Bavaria, Trillium grew to become one of the largest Socially Responsible Investing (SRI) firms in the U.S. The firm has been used as an incubator to create organizations with impact, helping nurture groups like US SIF, Ceres, SIRAN and Open MIC.
Trillium shares the American Sustainable Business Council’s vision for a sustainable market-based economy; one of their most recent efforts was co-signing an ASBC letter to U.S. policymakers asking them to oppose any appropriations language that attempted to alter or disrupt the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Design for the Environment (DfE) program. This program is a good example of the business community working collaboratively with regulators to improve safety in the marketplace. Thanks in large part to the support of business leaders, including Trillium, that language was ultimately dropped.
A leader in shareholder advocacy, Trillium also leverages the power of stock ownership to promote social and environmental change while providing both impact and performance to their investors.
Trillium supports the shareholder’s right to file a shareholder proposal asking companies to implement a specific policy or action - and often does - on behalf of their clients. These proposals can come up for a vote at the company’s annual meeting and can be a key rallying point of a larger campaign to a change a corporation’s behavior. In some cases, companies agree to make changes in exchange for the withdrawal of the proposals prior to the vote; at the very least, they can shine a brighter light on issues within certain companies. Some of the most recent proposals they have filed have focused on issues including climate change, political spending, diversity, Internet privacy, sustainable agriculture and Native American rights.
As investors, Trillium often has an insightful perspective to offer on the long-term benefits of public policies that protect the environment, communities, and the people who live in them. They have found that policymakers at all levels of government are increasingly interested in hearing the voice of SRI investors, and they regularly promote public policies that advance the social and environmental goals of their clients, both through membership in groups like ASBC and in their day-to-day operations.