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Impact Investing

Boston Trust Walden has been at the leading edge of impact investing for more than forty years. Impact investing seeks to generate positive social and environmental impact alongside financial returns.

As long-term shareowners of publicly traded companies, it is our right and responsibility to use active ownership to protect and improve the sustainability policies, practices, and performance of companies. Our experienced team of professionals is dedicated to achieving outcomes we believe are in the best long-term interests of companies and shareholders. In aggregate, we believe change at the company level can benefit human rights, the natural environment, and our overall economy, and that clients can earn a competitive rate of return on these investments. We also recognize effective public policy can bolster change we realize on a company-by-company basis.

At Boston Trust Walden, we achieve impact for clients through:


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ESG research and integration


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Company engagement


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Shareholder resolutions


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Proxy voting


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Public policy advocacy


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Thought leadership

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We believe well managed companies value input from investors and other stakeholders that aims to improve the sustainability of their business by limiting risk and protecting or enhancing shareowner value. Active ownership is a tool we use to further that aim.

Amy Augustine, Director of ESG Investing

Engagement Focus Areas

Climate Change

  • Science-based greenhouse gas emissions targets
  • Smart climate policy

Equality

  • Board diversity
  • Equal employment opportunity disclosure
  • LGBTQ employment non-discrimination

Governance

  • ESG/sustainability reporting
  • Lobbying transparency
  • Proxy voting and fiduciary responsibility

In addition to our three focus areas, we actively engage on other ESG issues important to us and our clients.

Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

The SDGs are a call to action that investors should not ignore. Since their inception, we have been assessing how our work incorporates the SDGs and where opportunities exist to advance their objectives.

Bill Apfel, CFA, Chief Investment Officer

Boston Trust Walden has been one of the leading investor voices on the Sustainable Development Goals, which we believe are an important development in global efforts to end poverty, reduce inequality, protect the natural environment, and pursue peace and stability.

We consider the SDGs as part of our investment framework and in our shareholder engagement and public policy advocacy.

Boston Trust Walden was the first US-based signatory to the 2017 Stockholm Declaration, which communicates investor support for the SDGs.

Shareholder Engagement Highlights


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525 resolutions filed since 1987, with more than 40% withdrawn based on negotiated agreements


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1992: Launched campaign to vote against boards of directors without people of color or women – a practice subsequently adopted broadly by the industry


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2015: Spearheaded campaign to align corporate goals on greenhouse gases with climate science


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2017: Successfully challenged asset managers to address ESG issues in their proxy voting policies and practices

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Engaging in shareholder advocacy and proxy voting is a core investor right – and it’s critical to protect this right through public policy and activism.

Tim Smith, Director of Shareowner Engagement

Measuring Success Transparently

We consider engagement to be successful when we observe progress toward these potential outcomes:


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better corporate policies (e.g., amending board nominating charters to include explicit consideration of gender and race)


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more sustainable business practices (e.g., adoption of science-based greenhouse gas goals)


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increased transparency (e.g., initiating or substantially improving sustainability reports)


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effective public policy

We report on our impact results annually and publicly disclose our ESG integration approach, active ownership initiatives, and proxy voting record.

Tim Smith at General Motors
Tim Smith, the first Executive Director of the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR), speaking at the General Motors Annual General Meeting in 1971, requesting that the company cease doing business in apartheid South Africa. Since 2000, Tim has served as Boston Trust Walden’s Director of ESG Shareowner Engagement.

Meeting Client Needs

Shareholder resolution filing
We provide assistance to clients who wish to directly participate in shareholder initiatives. We invite clients to co-file shareholder resolutions filed by Boston Trust Walden as well as other investors.

Faith-based screening
We help faith-based investors translate their ESG priorities into tailored investment portfolios. Read more about how we serve faith-based clients.

Fossil fuel screening
Many of our clients have asked us to exclude fossil fuel companies from their portfolios. We understand the priorities of those who have signed the Divest-Invest Pledge and have two decades of experience managing portfolios without exposure to coal, natural gas, and oil.

Mission-aligned Investment Policy Statement (IPS) development
We work with clients to develop and incorporate their responsible investing criteria into their Investment Policy Statements.

Community development investing
Clients may direct us to invest in community development institutions, banks, and credit unions that support economic development and affordable housing.