Our Sustainability Footprint: Community & Society

Impact Investing

Clean Yield’s primary impacts on society come through our impact investing program, public policy advocacy, and shareholder engagement activities. Through our impact investments, we have invested nearly $7 million of client investments in enterprises that designed intentionally to generate social and environmental impact as well as financial return. Our shareholder proposals regularly succeed in pressing corporations to adopt measures to strengthen their own environmental and social policies and practices.

Community Involvement

Clean Yield Asset Management encourages employee involvement in community activities by granting two hours per week or up to one day a month of paid time to volunteer for a non-profit organization. Clean Yield employees serve on a number of boards, including Vermont Public Radio, Sterling College, Vermont Community Loan Fund, Marlboro College and the Center for Political Accountability. For 2014 and 2015, we estimate that we volunteered about 5% of our time to these and other organizations. More information about our community activities can be found on our staff page.

Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield (Ben & Jerry's), Cheryl Hannah and Jennifer Taub (Vermont Law School) and David Cobb (Move to Amend) at our Citizens United forum, November 2011.

Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield (Ben & Jerry’s), Cheryl Hannah and Jennifer Taub (Vermont Law School) and David Cobb (Move to Amend) at our Citizens United forum, November 2011.

Clean Yield sponsors periodic public forums on issues of civic interest. Our 2011 panel on the Citizens United Supreme Court decision in Montpelier, co-hosted with Vermont Public Interest Research Group, drew a standing-room only crowd. In 2014 and 2015, we sponsored panels at Vermont’s New Economy Week events, on addressing the importance of “Who Owns Vermont,” and “Integrating Mission Into Ownership.” In 2013, we partnered with Sterling College in convening an expert panel on fossil fuel divestment for an invited audience of the region’s senior college and university administrators.

Charitable Giving

Each employee is given $500 to donate to the charity of their choice. In addition the company gives to community based initiatives as part of their role as a local community citizen. Over all our donations represented about 11% of our profits in 2015. On an annual basis, we are committed to donating at least 5% of our profits to charitable organizations.

Employee Policies

Clean Yield Asset Management offers a strong health and benefits package to its employees, which earned us the honor “Best for Workers” from B Corp in 2015 (and “Best for the World” in 2016, which encompasses worker, environment, community and governance practices).

In an industry where the pay multiple between CEOs and median workers can top 150 to one, we’re proud of the fact that the ratio of our highest paid full-time salary to our lowest paid is less than four to one.

Our company is two-thirds women-owned.

Diversity

Clean Yield Asset Management is an equal opportunity employer. Our nondiscrimination policy is broadly inclusive:

It is the established policy of CYAM not to discriminate against any individual employee, group of employees, prospective employee or member or prospective member because of race, ethnicity, color, religion, national origin, citizenship, sex, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, age, ancestry, marital status, disability, genetic information, veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law. Past convictions or incarceration will not automatically disqualify a job applicant. CYAM will make reasonable accommodations to facilitate any physical or mental disability that interferes with an employee’s ability to perform the essential functions of his/her job to the extent CYAM is aware of those disabilities.

At present, our seven-person company lacks racial diversity, but is diverse with respect to gender (five of seven employees are women) and sexual orientation. Job openings are rare, but women, people of color and others of diverse backgrounds are strongly encouraged to apply for openings when they occur.

Supply Chain

Clean Yield is committed to making a positive contribution to our community by being mindful of the environment and our neighbors, both local and global, in all our actions. We give preference to goods and services purchased from local and independent businesses. Our definition of local is a business within the borders of Vermont and New Hampshire (given the relatively rural nature of our office, we choose to go beyond the traditional 50-mile radius.)

Whenever possible, Clean Yield seeks to source products and services from local or regional providers. We give preference to vendors who share our commitment to the “triple bottom line” of people, profit, and planet, such as other B Corporations.

Our significant purchases include financial services software, office supplies, technical support and web design.

In 2015, 49% of our expenses went to independent suppliers located within 200 miles of our Norwich, Vermont office.

If we need to go beyond local providers for goods and services we:

  • Ask suppliers if they source locally,
  • Ask suppliers for copies of their environmental and social policies,
  • Ensure that they meet our broad based social screens, and
  • Actively seek to recruit women- and minority-owned businesses into our supplier mix when possible.

At present, fewer than 10% of our significant suppliers are owned by women or individuals from underrepresented populations.

Lobbying and Public Policy

Within our industry, we’re actively involved in numerous efforts to improve industry standards and we regularly communicate our views on public policies to elected officials and other decision makers. See our Public Policy page for examples.

As a matter of policy, Clean Yield Asset Management will make no political contributions (cash or in-kind) to any candidate, parties, or other organizations, directly or indirectly, that are intended to influence the outcome of an election or ballot referendum. Calling upon our portfolio companies to make the same commitment is a high priority among our shareholder engagement activities.

View our Environmental Footprint page here.