For-profit

Clean Yield Asset Management

Website:

cleanyield.com

Location:

Norwich, VT

Type:

For-Profit Investment Firm

Clean Yield Asset Management is a financial investment firm that promotes environmentalist-aligned investments said to be free of conventional energy. The firm also launches shareholder resolutions to push policies at certain businesses.

Background

Clean Yield Asset Management is Vermont-based financial investment firm promotes environmentalist investments into companies that align with those policies while also promoting shareholder resolutions to force companies to adopt green policies. It targets investments based on a company’s environmental, social, and corporate governance record, also known as ESG. [1] Clean Yield says it sells stock if the “ESG profile deteriorates significantly.” [2]

Doug Fleer and Rian Fried founded the firm in 1983, under the name Fried & Fleer Investments, and published a monthly stock market newsletters called “The Clean Yield.” The newsletter featured a list of “socially screened companies.” The newsletters gained a national following among financial professionals. Seeing a branding opportunity, Fried and Fleer renamed the firm Clean Yield Asset Management in 1986. Fried died in 2013. [3]

The company manages conventional energy-free portfolios for clients, and encourages divestment from conventional energy companies. In 2010, Clean Yield removed companies involved in natural gas extraction from its “buy” list. In 2012, Clean Yield began lobbying public institutions, such as state and local government pension funds, to divest from oil and gas companies. It will not invest in oil, gas, or coal. Interestingly it also says it will not invest in nuclear fuels. [4]

Clean Yield adds, “Except for positions held for the purpose of filing shareholder resolutions, we will actively transition clients’ portfolios to becoming fossil free in accordance with this definition.” [5]

Impact Investing

The company also invests in bonds, and maintains cash reserves of 5 percent to 15 percent of its portfolios. Further, its “impact investments” directs money to environmentalist-aligned small food and agriculture businesses. [6]

Through “impact investing,” the firm committed more than $20 million of clients’ money into companies that try to generate social and environmental impacts. [7]

Karin Chamberlin, director of impact investing for Clean Yield Asset Management, oversees the $20 million in investments in food, agriculture and green-energy business clients. [8]

Chamberlain told the New York Times that many the firm’s clients “feel strongly about climate change and supporting agricultural practices that focus on soil health and the carbon capture it promotes.” [9]

Shareholder Resolutions

The company’s social responsible investing strategy is based on six parts: screening out companies with “negative social impacts;” investing in companies with “positive social impact;” voting as proxies and pushing shareholder resolutions; impact investing; engaging with corporations to promote strong ESG policies; and public policy advocacy. [10]

In 2014, Clean Yield was part of a coalition of groups that pushed shareholder resolutions to forced Smuckers to change policies related to palm oil that Clean Yield and others claimed was responsible for deforestation. [11]

In 2013, Clean Yield was part of a shareholder resolution that pushed McDonalds to replace polystyrene foam coffee cups with paper cups. [12]

References

  1. Investment Style. Accessed November 15, 2019. https://www.cleanyield.com/investment-style/ ^
  2. Investment Style. Accessed November 15, 2019. https://www.cleanyield.com/investment-style/ ^
  3. Our History. November 15, 2019. https://www.cleanyield.com/history/ ^
  4. Fossil Fuel-Free Investing. November 15, 2019. https://www.cleanyield.com/why-clean-yield/fossil-fuel-free-investing/ ^
  5. Fossil Fuel-Free Investing. November 15, 2019. https://www.cleanyield.com/why-clean-yield/fossil-fuel-free-investing/ ^
  6. Investment Style. Accessed November 15, 2019. https://www.cleanyield.com/investment-style/ ^
  7. Our Sustainability Footprint. November 15, 2019. https://www.cleanyield.com/our-sustainability-footprint-2-of-2/ ^
  8. Stephenson, Heather. “Investing for Green Returns.” Tufts Now. October 11, 2019. November 15, 2019. https://now.tufts.edu/articles/investing-green-returns ^
  9. Gray, Tim. “Agriculture Funds Aim to Harvest Profit, Along With Corn and Wheat.” The New York Times. October 11, 2019. Accessed November 15, 2019. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/11/business/agriculture-funds-profit-sustainable.html ^
  10. About Social Responsible Investing. November 15, 2019. https://www.cleanyield.com/why-clean-yield/about-sri/ ^
  11. Kropp, Robert. “Investors Applaud Smucker’s New Palms Oil Policy.” Green Biz. July 30, 2014. Accessed November 15, 2019. https://www.greenbiz.com/blog/2014/07/30 ^
  12. Kropp, Robert. “McDonald’s Will Ditch Polystyrene for Paper Coffee Cups.” Green Biz. September 27, 2013. Accessed November 15, 2019. https://www.greenbiz.com/blog/2013/09/27/mcdonalds-use-paper-coffee-cups-after-shareholder-pressure ^
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Clean Yield Asset Management


Norwich, VT