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The Marianist Province of the US invests further in Sustainable Finance

This update is sent by Bro. Steve O'Neil, SM, liaison for Marianist Brothers and Marianist Parishes.

The Marianists have a long history of using the power of their investments in companies to push for environmental, social, and governance (ESG) changes within them. We collaborate with other faith-based investors through the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR) to dialogue with company management, propose shareholder resolutions, and vote on all our proxies at each company's annual shareholder meeting. In recent years, we have also made a conscious decision to invest proactively with companies with a positive model in financing sustainability. This fits in well with Marianist Encounters Project Goal 4, Foster Sustainable Lifestyles: To be a catalyst for the adaptation and change of our human family by fostering new ecological economics and the adoption of sustainable lifestyles.

The Province has invested in 14 Green Bond Companies, 13 Sustainability Bonds, and 2 Social Impact Bonds. Here are a few examples of specific companies chosen because of their green or social initiatives:

Johnson Controls Intl. – Green Bond

Johnson Controls International offered a $625 million green bond in September 2020 and has not issued any new debt since 2017. The green bond follows a sustainability improvement loan the company issued in December when it restructured two revolving credit facilities for new security linked to its ESG performance. Johnson Controls intends to allocate proceeds from the bond offering to eco-efficient and/or circular economy products, technologies, and processes; certified green buildings; pollution prevention and control; sustainable water and wastewater management; clean transportation; and renewable energy. The company's green finance framework has received a positive second-party opinion. Also, Johnson Controls has publicly committed to or participated in several industry initiatives addressing energy efficiency and climate change preparedness.

Citigroup Inc. – Social Impact Bond

In October 2020, Citigroup offered bonds under its Social Bond Framework for Affordable Housing explicitly designated to support the company's portfolio of affordable housing assets. This portfolio consists of financing instruments intended to finance the construction, rehabilitation, and/or preservation of quality affordable housing for low- and moderate-income populations in the US. The framework has received a positive second-party opinion affirming that these proceeds would be impactful and aligned with the UN's Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) - 10 [Reduced Inequalities] and 11 [Sustainable Cities and Communities].

Starbucks Corp. – Sustainability Bond

In May 2016, Starbucks Corp. announced issuing its first US Corporate Sustainability Bond. The company will use the net proceeds from the offering of $500 million to enhance its sustainability programs around coffee supply chain management through Eligible Sustainability Projects. This includes coffee purchases from suppliers verified by a third party as complying with Starbucks' ethical sourcing verification program of Coffee and Farmer Equity Practices, the development and operation of Farmer Support Centers in coffee-growing regions, as well as short and long-term loans made through Starbucks Global Farmer Fund. Starbucks consistently reports on the bond's use of proceeds and the progress of eligible green and sustainable projects. Progress on green projects includes hot beverage cups made from 10% post-consumer recycled fiber; cold beverage cups going 'strawless' to help achieve the company's single-use plastic elimination goals and having purchased enough renewable energy to power all of its company-owned stores in the US and Canada since 2015. Progress on sustainable social projects includes: providing $40 million to the Farmer Support Center and Global Farmer Fund and distributing loans to farmers in 13 countries (as of May 2020).

In conclusion,

these investments, using positive screens to incentivize corporate change efforts that align with Pope Francis' call to address the Cry of the Earth and Cry of the Poor, helps move the global human family into a more sustainable reality both now and for the generations to follow.

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1 Comment

Dear Steve, thanks for this information and thanks for all you do to save creation!

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