Non-profit

Sustainability Group at Loring, Wolcott & Coolidge

Website:

sustainabilitygroup.com

Location:

Boston, MA

Formation:

1987

Founder:

Amy Domini

The Sustainability Group at Loring, Wolcott & Coolidge is an investment advisory group involved in the left-of-center “environmental, social, and governance” (ESG) movement that is a part of the Loring, Wolcott & Coolidge investment firm.

The group mostly works with individuals and trusts by handling investment management, investment advisory accounts, and retirement accounts. It focuses on advising its clients to support left-of-center viewpoints such as gun control[1] and combatting climate change by supporting the Paris Agreement. [2]

The Sustainability Group is one of the 414 members of the United Nations’ climate change investment initiative Climate Action 100+ alongside foundations such as the Sierra Club Foundation, and the Christopher Reynolds Foundation. [3]

Its founder, Amy Domini, has contributed a total of $576,500 in United States campaign contributions since 2000, with 93% of those funds going to Democratic Party-affiliated candidates and groups. [4]

Background

The Sustainability Group at Loring, Wolcott & Coolidge, also known as The Sustainability Group, was founded by social investment advisor Amy Domini in 1987 as a child organization of the Loring, Wolcott & Coolidge investment firm. [5]

The Sustainability Group is a non-profit, ESG-related investment advisory organization that assesses investment opportunities by aligning its clients with companies that support their left-of-center environmental, social, and governance ideals. [6]

The focus of The Sustainability Group’s investment advice is centered around three areas: stock selection, shareholder advocacy, and direct impact investments.

The group presses companies to take left-leaning positions on issues including “climate change, systemic racial inequity, gender inequality, gun violence, and lobbying and political spending.” The group works directly with companies in order to ensure that these issues are tackled to their clients’ satisfaction. The group also works with policymakers and legislators on issues such as these, and engages in proxy voting to compel companies to adopt its positions. [7]

The Sustainability Group mostly works with individuals and trusts by handling investment management, investment advisory accounts, and retirement accounts. The group also manages investments for foundations and endowments. According to the group, its main focus is on high net worth individuals and usually requires the client to have $1,000,000 in investible assets to be accepted. [8]

Political Activities

The Sustainability Group has been pushing anti-gun rhetoric since 2017. According to its website, the group has worked with more than ten companies to advocate gun control. The group itself does not “invest in companies that are actively involved in the manufacturing, sales or distribution of firearms or ammunition” and has also encouraged a CEO of “one of the largest food and beverage retailers” to prohibit all firearms in the retailer, even if open carry is legal in the state. [9]

Other steps the group has taken towards gun control include encouraging companies to halt any relationship and sever ties to the National Rifle Association (NRA), and to prevent any type of discount or preferential programs to members of the NRA. The Sustainability Group has also asked financial institutions to cut ties with manufacturers of semi-automatic rifles in common civilian use and encouraged entertainment and media companies to “adopt and enforce policies regarding responsible depiction of firearms.” [10]

The Sustainability Group worked closely with Microsoft in 2014 to encourage the tech giant to sever ties with the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a non-profit organization of conservative state legislators and private sector representatives who draft and share model state-level legislation for distribution among state governments in the United States. [11]

The group, alongside Walden Asset Management, another left-of-center ESG investment firm, persuaded Microsoft to leave ALEC’s Communications and Technology Task Force, due to a commitment to become carbon-neutral that Microsoft made in 2012. [12]

Climate Change

The Sustainability Group is one of the 414 members of the United Nations’ climate change investment initiative, Climate Action 100+. [13]

The initiative, developed in 2018 and set to end in 2023, was coordinated by Asia Investor Group on Climate Change (AIGCC), Ceres, Investor Group on Climate Change (IGCC), Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change (IIGCC), and Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) in an effort to ensure that the largest corporate greenhouse gas emitters in the world reduce the number of emissions created, improve governance, and strengthen financial disclosures related to climate issues in order to assist in reaching the goals of the Paris Agreement. [14]

Other members of the initiative include the Sierra Club Foundation, the Christopher Reynolds Foundation, Rockefeller Capital Management, the Skoll Foundation, the McKnight Foundation, and the Nathan Cummings Foundation. Amy Domini’s for-profit investment advisory group, Domini Impact Investments (formerly Domini Social Investments), is also a member of Climate Action 100+. [15]

The Sustainability Group also joined the We Are Still In coalition founded by former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg (I, later D) in order to support the commitments for reducing carbon emissions under the Paris Climate Agreements following President Donald Trump withdrawing the United States from said agreement in June 2017. [16]

Under the We Are Still In coalition, The Sustainability Group promised to “integrate climate change-related risks and opportunities in portfolio analysis and decision-making processes,” ensure that investors commit to supporting the Climate Action 100+ initiative, and “join companies and investors that are helping to shape government policy on climate.” [17]

The Sustainability Group was also a signatory of a letter sent to leaders of the G20 summit in 2016, asking for the summit leaders to “Complete your process for joining/ratifying the Paris agreement in 2016 if possible, implement the 2015 Global Investor Statement on Climate Change’s recommendations for governments, support a doubling of global investment in clean energy by 2020, prioritize implementation of, and prepare to strengthen, your nationally determined contributions, prioritize rulemaking by national financial regulators to require disclosure of material climate risks, and welcome the work of the G20 green finance study group.” [18]

The Sustainability Group also endorsed United States Senator Elizabeth Warren’s (D-MA) decision to reintroduce the Climate Risk Disclosure Act in 2019. Under this legislation, public companies will be required to disclose information on their exposure to “climate risks.” [19]

The Loring Wolcott, and Coolidge Charitable Trust is a 501(c)(3) fund related to The Sustainability Group through its parent investment firm, Loring Wolcott, and Coolidge.

The Charitable Trust received $515,054 in total revenue in 2011 with $515,018 coming from contributions. It had a total revenue of $207,064 in 2012, $10,012 in 2013, and $303,788 in 2014 with $303,786 received in contributions. Since then, revenue has dropped with the trust only receiving $4 total in 2015, and $15 in 2016. [20]

The Sustainability Group is also an associate member of the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR),[21] a faith-based organization that uses strategic investment to promote left-of-center social policy. [22]

People

Amy Domini, the founder of The Sustainability Group, is also a trustee of Loring Wolcott, and Coolidge,[23] and the CEO and Founder of Domini Impact Investments, LLC, a for-profit investment advisory group with $2.4 billion in assets under management that engages in impact investing and shareholder activism in favor of left-leaning causes such as gun control and environmentalism. [24] Domini Impact Investments engages in activist investment by filing shareholder proposals, proxy voting, and advocating for left-leaning public policies. [25]

Domini herself started the KLD 400 Social Index (formerly the Domini 400 Social Index), the first benchmark for socially screened equity portfolios,[26] and Time magazine named her to the Time 100 list of the world’s most influential people in 2005 for helping to start the impact investing trend. [27]

Domini has contributed a total of $576,500 in United States campaign contributions since 2000, with 93% of those funds going to Democratic Party-affiliated candidates and groups. She has contributed $280,200 to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, $34,970 to the Democratic National Committee, $10,600 to Barack Obama, $10,400 to Elizabeth Warren, and $10,000 to Progressive Voters of America. [28]

References

  1. “Shareholder Advocacy: Gun Violence.” The Sustainability Group. Accessed January 20, 2020. https://sustainabilitygroup.com/direct-impact-investing-making-a-difference/taking-on-gun-violence/. ^
  2. “The Sustainability Group of Loring, Wolcott & Coolidge.” ‘s Climate Action Contribution | We Are Still In. Accessed January 20, 2020. https://www.wearestillin.com/organization/sustainability-group-loring-wolcott-coolidge. ^
  3. “Climate Action 100 .” Climate Action 100 – Climate Initiatives Platform. Accessed January 20, 2020. http://climateinitiativesplatform.org/index.php/Climate_Action_100+. ^
  4. “Amy Domini Thornton – Political.” LittleSis. Accessed January 20, 2020. https://littlesis.org/person/354129-Amy_Domini_Thornton/political. ^
  5. “History: Amy Domini.” The Sustainability Group. Accessed January 20, 2020. https://sustainabilitygroup.com/about/our-history-and-amy-domini/. ^
  6. “Shareholder Advocacy.” The Sustainability Group. Accessed January 20, 2020. https://sustainabilitygroup.com/core-investment-activities/shareholder-advocacy/. ^
  7. “Shareholder Advocacy.” The Sustainability Group. Accessed January 20, 2020. https://sustainabilitygroup.com/core-investment-activities/shareholder-advocacy/. ^
  8. “Loring Wolcott, and Coolidge – ADV Part 2 .” Loring Wolcott, and Coolidge. Accessed January 20, 2020. https://lwcotrust.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/ADV-Part2.pdf. ^
  9. “Shareholder Advocacy: Gun Violence.” The Sustainability Group. Accessed January 20, 2020. https://sustainabilitygroup.com/direct-impact-investing-making-a-difference/taking-on-gun-violence/. ^
  10. “Shareholder Advocacy: Gun Violence.” The Sustainability Group. Accessed January 20, 2020. https://sustainabilitygroup.com/direct-impact-investing-making-a-difference/taking-on-gun-violence/. ^
  11. “Microsoft Ends Its Relationship with American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).” Eclectablog, August 19, 2014. https://www.eclectablog.com/2014/08/microsoft-ends-its-relationship-with-american-legislative-exchange-council-alec.html. ^
  12. “Microsoft Ends Its Relationship with American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).” Eclectablog, August 19, 2014. https://www.eclectablog.com/2014/08/microsoft-ends-its-relationship-with-american-legislative-exchange-council-alec.html. ^
  13. “Climate Action 100 .” Climate Action 100 – Climate Initiatives Platform. Accessed January 20, 2020. http://climateinitiativesplatform.org/index.php/Climate_Action_100+. ^
  14. “Climate Action 100 .” Climate Action 100 – Climate Initiatives Platform. Accessed January 20, 2020. http://climateinitiativesplatform.org/index.php/Climate_Action_100+. ^
  15. “Climate Action 100 .” Climate Action 100 – Climate Initiatives Platform. Accessed January 20, 2020. http://climateinitiativesplatform.org/index.php/Climate_Action_100+. ^
  16. “‘We Are Still in’: Tech Giants Join Effort to Honor Paris Climate Deal.” CBS News. CBS Interactive. Accessed January 20, 2020. https://www.cbsnews.com/news/paris-climate-agreement-tech-giants-apple-amazon-google-cities-states/. ^
  17. “The Sustainability Group of Loring, Wolcott & Coolidge.” ‘s Climate Action Contribution | We Are Still In. Accessed January 20, 2020. https://www.wearestillin.com/organization/sustainability-group-loring-wolcott-coolidge. ^
  18. “130 Investors Sign Letter Calling on G20 to Take Steps to Meet Paris Climate Agreement: Business & Human Rights Resource Centre.” 130 investors sign letter calling on G20 to take steps to meet Paris climate agreement | Business & Human Rights Resource Centre, September 9, 2016. https://www.business-humanrights.org/en/130-investors-sign-letter-calling-on-g20-to-take-steps-to-meet-paris-climate-agreement-0. ^
  19. “Senator Warren, Representative Casten Lead Colleagues Introducing a Bill to Require Every Public Company to Disclose Climate-Related Risks: U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts.” Senator Warren, Representative Casten Lead Colleagues Introducing a Bill to Require Every Public Company to Disclose Climate-Related Risks | U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, July 10, 2019. https://www.warren.senate.gov/newsroom/press-releases/senator-warren-representative-casten-lead-colleagues-introducing-a-bill-to-require-every-public-company-to-disclose-climate-related-risks. ^
  20. Tigas, Mike, Sisi Wei, Ken Schwencke, Brandon Roberts, and Alec Glassford. “Loring Wolcott & Coolidge Charitable Trust – Nonprofit Explorer.” ProPublica, May 9, 2013. https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/organizations/46108814. ^
  21. “Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility – 2018-2019 Annual Report .” Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility . Accessed January 20, 2020. https://www.iccr.org/sites/default/files/2019-18_annual_report_-revised.pdf. ^
  22. “ICCR (Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility).” History of ICCR | ICCR (Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility). Accessed January 20, 2020. https://www.iccr.org/about-iccr/history-iccr. ^
  23. “Our People.” Loring, Wolcott & Coolidge. Accessed January 20, 2020. https://lwcotrust.com/our-firm/our-people/. ^
  24. “Domini Impact Fund – Additional Information.” Domini. Accessed January 20, 2020. https://www.domini.com/uploads/files/reports/DIT_SAI__with-Class-Y_485b_06152018.pdf. ^
  25. “Engagement: Your Money at Work.” Domini Impact Investments, January 1, 2020. https://www.domini.com/investing-for-impact/engagement. ^
  26. Schyndel, Zoe Van. “Go Green With Socially Responsible Investing.” Investopedia. Investopedia, November 18, 2019. https://www.investopedia.com/articles/07/clean_and_green.asp. ^
  27. “Amy Domini.” Domini Impact Investments, January 1, 2020. https://www.domini.com/about-domini/our-staff/amy-domini. ^
  28. “Amy Domini Thornton – Political.” LittleSis. Accessed January 20, 2020. https://littlesis.org/person/354129-Amy_Domini_Thornton/political. ^
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Sustainability Group at Loring, Wolcott & Coolidge

230 Congress Street
Boston, MA