As more and more institutions face pressure to divest from fossil fuel companies, some are looking to shareholder engagement as an alternative. Decades of such engagement, however, have produced strikingly little in the way of result. The time for polite conversation is over.
At the B Corporation Champions Retreat a few weeks ago, I was surrounded by a plethora of fellow B Corps from around the world. The energy in the room was palpable. Healthy debates were happening throughout the conference on how our varied businesses were working to be a force for good in our society and the planet. It was a refreshing shift from business as usual.
The first of our two New Economy Week panels this fall explored how pioneers in land use, finance, and business are using alternative ownership models to take back control of Vermont’s future. Co-sponsored by the Donella Meadows Institute, the half-day gathering included writer Marjorie Kelly (Owning Our Future), Gwen Hallsmith (Public Banking Institute), Kathy Ruhf (Land For Good) and Paul Millman (Chroma Technology Corporation).
Our second New Economy Week panel, co-sponsored with Donella Meadows Institute and Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility, explored the importance of ownership at the enterprise level. Will Raap of Gardeners Supply spoke on his company’s commitment to employee ownership, and Vermont Dep. Finance Commissioner Michael Pieciak spoke on creative new means of financing mission-driven businesses.
One of our latest investments is a company that is making a significant contribution in advancing renewable energy across the country. Hannon Armstrong Sustainable Infrastructure Capital (NYSE: HASI) is a specialty finance company that finances infrastructure projects that enhance energy sustainability. Hannon provides financing for three types of projects: clean energy, energy efficiency, and other sustainable infrastructure.
Based in Irvine, California, HCP is a real estate investment trust (REIT) that owns and manages healthcare real estate, which seems particularly attractive and may be insulated from some of the cost pressures elsewhere in the healthcare system.
Tags: B Corp, Clean Yield newsletter, divestment, Hannon Armstrong, HASI, HCP Inc., New Economy, shareholder activism, shareholder advocacy