Amy Domini on Rian Fried

This article is reprinted with permission from the Fall 2013 edition of Green Living Journal.

Rian Fried, one of a handful of people who shaped what is now called “socially responsible investing,” passed away on July 3. A passionate and disciplined man, Rian sought to return capitalism to its initial purpose of helping to create a good life, and he was boundless in his enthusiasm for sustainable investing.

Along with Doug 
Fleer, Rian founded
 Clean Yield in 1984.
 In addition to managing assets, they 
also began publish
ing a newsletter by 
the same name. I 
have received it ever
 since and have never
 ceased to be amazed
 by the bold voice
 with which it pres
ents groundbreaking new ideas. Whether seeking alternatives to fossil fuels or finding ways to capitalize a local organic seed farm, Clean Yield has brought all of us along into its cozy Vermont way of doing things.

During the 1980s, Rian Fried traveled to Boston many times, as a small group of us met to discuss our shared vision of investing and to learn from each other. From these meetings grew a shared commitment to the values of responsible investing that endure today. We determined that we must select investments carefully, with environmental and social standards considered. We determined that we must take our Wall Street voice to another level by directly contacting companies and government agencies to raise issues and to mitigate injustices and harms that ordinary business can create. We determined that we must be ready to support grassroots efforts to expand the economic wellbeing of more people, through innovative financial institutions and from nontraditional companies alike. I will always be grateful to Rian for his quiet insistence that values come first.

Not every passing of a giant 
is recorded in the headlines, but we in the field of socially responsible investing know full well that Rian Fried was a cornerstone to our thinking and our work. Our hearts are heavy at his passing.

Amy Domini

Founder & CEO, Domini Social Investments