Trillium Asset Management
Trillium Asset Management: Investing in Good
Joan Bavaria founded Boston-based Trillium Asset Management in 1982. In the ensuing decades, Bavaria built the company to become one of the country’s leading investment advisors exclusively dedicated to sustainable and responsible investing (SRI). The firm now manages more than $2.5 billion in assets while maintaining its commitments to sustainability, community, and volunteerism.
As a pioneer and visionary in the field of SRI, Joan leveraged Trillium as an incubator for organizations working to build sustainable solutions in capital markets, companies, and public policy. Along with founding and running Trillium, Bavaria was also the founding co-chair of Ceres, the largest coalition of investors, environmental and public interest organizations in North America.
Paul Hilton, a Trillium partner and portfolio manager, joined the company six year ago because, as he explains, “I’ve been interested in sustainable investing since graduate school and I was attracted to Trillium because of its amazing story.”
Trillium assesses Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) factors in potential investments, considering the risks and opportunities the company’s handling of each factor poses for investors’ long-term advantage. For example, climate change poses significant risks, but many opportunities also have emerged due to improved efficiency, alternative energy, and clean technology.
Trillium also sees resilient value in diversity and human rights; including indigenous rights; as well as in healthy living, including product safety and reducing exposure to toxins. Trillium identifies companies that are capitalizing on these trends and are well placed to grow with them. For its investment products, Trillium provides impact reports covering a wide range of ESG factors, including board diversity, executive compensation, and carbon emissions. In its 2016 Impact Assessment Report, Trillium notes that its Large Cap Core Strategy is 63 percent less carbon intense than its benchmark, the S&P 500.
“We also turn the mirror on ourselves and make sure we’re good citizens, like the companies we invest in,” Hilton says. “It’s not just about financial return on investment but also social return. Consumers have high expectations and if they’re giving you money, they want to know what it means for the triple bottom line.”
“In addition to our work every day creating a sustainable world, we back that up with our day-to-day activities and how we operate,” Hilton says. Trillium directs two percent of revenue to charitable contributions, routinely giving to both community-based and international organizations with the greatest positive impact. The firm’s philanthropic efforts have aided social and environmental causes including human rights, LGBT equality, and international relief. Trillium also upholds its environmental values in its own buildings, which have been awarded Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification by the U.S. Green Building Council; the Portland office in 2004 and the Boston office in 2009.