Swift Foundation’s Mission Related Investing

We believe that the foundation’s investments should directly support socially and environmentally responsible endeavors; we aspire to model this philosophy of uncompromising asset management.

MRI policy

Swift Foundation is committed to investing an increasing portion of its endowment in investments that are aligned with its mission. To this end, the Foundation has developed the following policy to guide and govern the placement of capital in mission-related endeavors. The goal is to synchronize the investing with the mission.

Currently 30% has been allocated towards Mission Related Investing.

The Directors have identified three primary mission themes: supporting biological and cultural diversity, addressing climate change, and enhancing the health of communities globally. Within these primary themes, Swift Foundation has further outlined relevant investments as follows:

Supporting Biological and Cultural Diversity

Relevant investments include:

  • Farming operations using sustainable agricultural practices
  • Enterprises that conserve natural resources
  • Enterprises that buy and sell organic and fair trade products
  • Sustainable timber and bamboo; selective logging as opposed to plantation
  • Wild fisheries
  • Enterprises involved in facilitating sustainable access to water resources
  • Regenerative land use and/or conservation real estate
  • Companies that have pro-active environmental policies
  • Companies that have signed onto the CERES principles and/or that participate in recognized environmental programs
  • Enterprises that utilize a substantial amount of recycled products as raw materials

Addressing Climate Change

Relevant investments include:

  • Enterprises that develop and/or perpetuate renewable energy sources in a decentralized fashion (ex off-shore wind, non-centralized solar (rooftops), renewable energy cooperatives, bio-char (not using industrial waste), biomass (using appropriate technology to burn at a high temperature and sourcing sustainable materials–agricultural biomass), wave energy, etc)
  • Enterprises that innovate with clean energy practices, technology and materials
  • Enterprises that innovate with carbon reduction/abatement practices or technology
  • Enterprises that develop technology in line with biomimicry
  • Companies that practice land management/forest management techniques for topsoil improvement
  • Enterprises that implement natural resource conservation and efficiency programs as well as strong pollution prevention programs
  • Enterprises that adopt LEED building codes and pursue energy efficient operations
  • Companies innovating in biofuel from algae, green waste, hemp, perennial polycultures, etc
  • Companies focused on recycling (metal, batteries, paper, etc)
  • Companies based on green design
  • Companies that focus on local and regionally based (within 500 miles) food and energy systems of production, distribution and consumption, particularly distribution
  • Companies that focus on alternative and locally based non fossil fuel derived energy- exempting corn based ethanol or soy based bio diesel

Sustainability of Communities

Relevant investments include:

  • Financial institutions involved in micro-credit, community development and loan funds
  • Enterprises that support indigenous peoples as stewards of their own land and resources through education, training and work opportunities
  • Public transportation/alternative transport companies
  • Commercial enterprises that develop programs aimed at revitalizing underserved or neglected communities, including low-income and minority populations
  • Enterprises that provide local green jobs (ex recycling, sustainable/green building, energy retrofit, composting, bike repairs, etc)
  • Companies that produce, distribute and/or sell organic food products
  • Companies that avoid using genetically modified organisms in food products and/or label such products at the point of sale as containing GMOs
  • Companies that procure, utilize and/or sell locally and regionally sourced agricultural goods and products, particularly from family operated farms.
  • Companies engaged in the construction and/or financing for affordable and low-income housing with green jobs/building emphasis

Exclusionary Restrictions*

  • No companies that privatize water.
  • No enterprises involved in mining, oil or coal operations unless of best practice.
  • No enterprises with a pattern of violations of federal and state environmental laws.
  • No enterprises promoting, manufacturing or testing genetically modified seeds, fish or animals and/or recombinant bovine growth hormone.
  • No companies that are significant producers of synthetic pesticides.
  • No enterprises that own and/or operate nuclear power plants and/or mine, store and/or transport nuclear fuel.
  • No enterprises involved in coal operations.
  • No companies that usurp public airwaves (giant media).
  • No paper or lumber from old growth forest or non-sustainable timber.
  • No enterprises that manufacture and distribute weapons of war.
  • No companies that have repeatedly violated affirmative action standards.
  • No companies that practice discriminatory labor practices based on disability, gender, age, race, religion or sexual orientation and/or engaged in anti-union activities.
  • No companies that have been continuously cited as having major workplace health and safety issues.
  • No companies that refrain from disclosing information.
  • No companies  that target Indigenous lands without proper consultation with the communities.
  • No companies that rank among the most current Toxic 100 list.
  • *Exceptions to these parameters are explicitly tied to shareholder campaigns.

Investment Parameters

Each proposed Mission-Related Investment shall be aligned with one or more of the mission themes and fit into our overall strategy.  We will try to be as vigilant as possible  in selecting  the most relevant MRI enterprises and avoid any “green washing.” We think smart investing inherently implies a level of consciousness about social and environmental factors. Therefore alongside our mission driven investing we will give priority to best practice across the portfolio. We will also strive to be strategic in aligning our investing with our grantmaking by negotiating whether a grant, loan or investment is most fitting. The MRI committee will review each MRI proposal before an investment is made and review the portfolio at bi-annual board meetings. Investments shall be made with a long-term perspective and awareness of our changing times climate, communities and ecosystems.

Proxy Voting Guidelines

We believe it is our obligation as shareholders to file resolutions and vote out proxies in accordance with our mission. While our priority is investing in change, we view engaging in shareholder campaigns as another tool towards furthering our mission.

© 2010-2012 Swift Foundation

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