American Sustainable Business Council and Social Venture Circle Refund Barclays Dues Over Prison Underwriting

Media Release

Washinton, D.C. — The American Sustainable Business Council (ASBC) and Social Venture Circle (SVC) refuse to perpetuate mass incarceration, systemic racism, and human rights abuses through the offering and purchase of taxable municipal bonds offered today for sale by the Alabama Department of Corrections (ADOC) through the Wisconsin Public Finance Authority in a deal underwritten by Barclays.

“We abhor the hypocrisy represented here and renounce the continued investment in the broken, unjust system of incarceration of this country. Thousands of businesses like mine and those represented by ASBC and SVC stand in opposition to Barclays or any other private sector company profiting from the injustice of the U.S. prison system,” said MaryAnne Howland, Board Chair of ASBC, Founder and CEO of Ibis Communications.

“We stand with the activists, business leaders, and investors, vehemently opposed to any efforts to develop and build two prisons in Alabama (Elmore and Escambia Counties). We are in full support of the initiative to stop the offering and have made the decision to immediately return $15,000 in sponsorship and membership dues paid by Barclays and terminate their corporate membership immediately,” said Isaac Graves, Interim Executive Director, Social Venture Circle.  “We invite all businesses and impact investors we represent to join us in supporting the initiative to stop the offering.”

“Now is the time to invest in creating good jobs, growing responsible businesses all which can benefit our communities and our economy,” said David Levine, Co-Founder and President of the American Sustainable Business Council.

“The American Sustainable Business Council and Social Venture Circle have taken a decisive stand against associating with those who seek to profit from a private prison system that harms Black and Brown communities. We urge banks like Barclays to rethink their investment strategies for a healthier and more equitable world,” said Kat Taylor, Impact Investor & Co-Founder and Board Chair of Beneficial State Bank.

“Profiting from human suffering is just about the antithesis of social business. Savvy investors know that there are far better ways to make money, as generations of SVC investors have demonstrated,” said Morgan Simon, Founding Partner, Candide Group.

“We are proud that ASBC and SVC are standing with Black, Brown, Indigenous and systems impacted communities and other business leaders and investors – together we championed Barclays and other banks when they committed to stop financing private prisons and, together, we must also hold them accountable.  ASBC and SVC are walking the walk. We welcome other investors, financial institutions, businesses, and community leaders to join us,” said Christina Hollenback, Founder and Principal, Justice Capital.

“As a member of SVC, I think it’s important to hold all members responsible for the basic principles that keep a healthy society and a thriving economy moving. The days of empty corporate platitudes are over, and I’m pleased to see our community standing up against the shameful stain in our modern history that private prisons represent,” said Nathalie Molina Niño, President, O³.

The American Sustainable Business Council (ASBC) partners with business organizations and companies to advocate for solutions and policies that support an equitable, sustainable, stakeholder economy. We are a multi-issue, business organization advocating on behalf of all sectors, sizes, and geographies of industry. ASBC and our association members collectively represent over 250,000 businesses across our networks.

We are coalition-focused in our approach to solving the pervasive and systemic issues of climate and energy, infrastructure, circular economy, and creating an inclusive stakeholder economy, all seen through the lens of racial equity and justice. We are changing the rules by which business is done so it is better for all people and the environment