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December 29, 2015

ZAM Pressures Companies on Renewable Energy Goals

This proxy season one focus of our shareholder engagement and proposal efforts was pushing companies to set company-wide quantitative goals for the purchasing or generating of renewable energy.  In order to limit the average global temperature increase to 2 degrees Centigrade, a goal shared by nearly every nation, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) estimates that the United States needs to reduce annual GHG emissions by approximately 80 percent.  Achieving this reduction demands a significant shift to renewable energy.  While many companies have robust climate change strategies and GHG emissions goals, specific use of or investment in renewable energy to attain these goals is limited.  We filed renewable energy proposals at Pepsico, Inc., CVS Health Corp and TJX Companies, Inc.; all of whom who fit the criteria of excluding renewable energy goals in their climate change solution strategies and all of whom fall behind major competitors in setting renewable energy goals.  We will continue to engage with these companies and others in our portfolio on this important subject in 2016.

Category: Shareholder Activism

December 28, 2015

ZAM Co-files Climate Change Related Proposals at Big Oil

Zevin added its support to  various resolutions regarding climate change at Exxon Mobil, ConocoPhillips and Chevron.  Co-filing subjects included lobbying disclosure, reserve replacement reporting and assessing carbon asset risk.

Category: Shareholder Activism

December 21, 2015

ZAM Focuses on Minimum Wage Reform at TJX, Companies Inc.

Zevin co-filed at TJX Companies with lead filer Trillium Asset Management to urge TJX to adopt principles for minimum wage reform.  We believe principles for minimum wage reform should recognize; 1.   A sustainable economy must ensure a minimum standard of living necessary for the health and general well-being of workers and their families and that the minimum wage should be indexed to maintain its ability to support a minimum standard of living, and 2. to allow for orderly increases, predictability and business planning.

Category: Shareholder Activism

December 10, 2015

Resolution on Climate Change Will Be on Franklin Templeton's Proxy Ballot by Robert Kropp

"Franklin Templeton sought to have the resolution omitted from its proxy ballot, arguing that proxy voting matters should be considered to be ordinary business. Zevin, on the other hand, asserted that resolution addressed climate change, and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) recently found in the proponent's favor."  Read the full article via SocialFunds.com

Category: In the Press

December 3, 2015

Happy Holidays from ZAM - Sharing the Gift of Volunteerism

The Zevin Team pres the First CourseZevin Asset Management employees had the honor of funding, preparing and serving a lunch to 150 women and children at Rosie’s Place in Boston’s South End.  In our second volunteer event of the year, Zevin employees felt so thankful to the staff and members of Rosie’s Place for allowing us to share in a small part of giving back to the community during this Holiday Season.

Read more about our day and how to get involved.

Category: Organizational News

December 1, 2015

ZAM Shareholder Engagement Results in Walmart disclosing state-by-state lobbying disclosures

In response to shareholder pressure, Walmart has publicly disclosed its state by state lobbying payments, becoming the first large company to do so in the US. Walmart agreed to update this report annually after Zevin Asset Management filed a shareholder resolution requesting greater transparency around lobbying payments made by the retailer. The report is found on the Investor portion of its website (http://stock.walmart.com/investors/esg-investors/default.aspx) and includes the amount spent on lobbying in each of the states where Walmart lobbies, with links to each report and noting the states where they have not lobbied the previous year. Walmart revealed that it spent $2.3 million on lobbying at the state level with the largest expenditures in California and Maryland.

Categories: Shareholder Activism, In the Press

November 28, 2015

ZAM Sheds Light on Executive Pay at CVS Healthcare Corporation

In a resolution filed at CVS, Zevin asked the company to review its executive compensation policies and make available, upon request, a summary report analyzing executive/ employee pay gaps.   This resolution was prompted by recent events that have increased concerns about the extraordinarily high levels of executive compensation at many U.S. corporations. Concerns about the structure of executive compensation packages have also intensified, with some suggesting compensation systems incentivize excessive risk-taking.

Category: Shareholder Activism

November 26, 2015

Give Thanks: SEC Allows Shareholders to Hold Mutual Funds to Account by James McRitchie

"A new ruling by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) holds far-reaching implications for investor efforts to promote proactive corporate responses to climate change.  Every spring in annual meetings, shareholders vote on hundreds of proposals asking  corporations to take more proactive action to consider and reduce  impacts on climate change –  to shift toward renewable energy sources, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and to consider risks to their financial future associated with an overemphasis on fossil fuels."  Read the full article Give Thanks: SEC Allows Shareholders to Hold Mutual Funds to Account via Corporate Governance.

Categories: Shareholder Activism, In the Press

November 26, 2015

SEC backs effort to hold Franklin Templeton accountable on climate change by ResponsibleInvestor.com

Potential landmark ruling by US financial regulator.  Full article available to subscribers via ResponsibleInvestor.com

Categories: Shareholder Activism, In the Press

November 25, 2015

SEC supports our right to hold investment companies accountable on climate change

Investor efforts to push companies to act on climate change have been strengthened by yesterday’s Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) ruling that Franklin Resources, which manages the Franklin Templeton family of mutual funds, will be required to include Zevin's shareholder resolution on its 2016 ballot focusing on its poor voting record on climate change proposals. We filed the proposal to highlight the contradiction between Franklin’s voting practices and its policy positions regarding climate change. A similar proposal has also been filed by Zevin at T Rowe Price. The SEC’s ruling is especially timely given the upcoming United Nations climate conference (COP21) in Paris and paves the way for shareholders to push other investment companies, including big banks, on their proxy voting records. To read our press release, click here.

Categories: Shareholder Activism, In the Press

November 25, 2015

New Climate Ruling by SEC Strengthens Shareholder Advocacy by Sanford Lewis, Esq.

"In a letter issued November 24, 2015, SEC Staff held that a proposal seeking to hold a mutual fund accountable for its poor voting record on climate proposals is not excludable from the proxy statement. The proposal at Franklin Resources Inc.( doing business as Franklin Templeton Investments) was submitted by Zevin Asset Management LLC on behalf of its clients."  Read the full article via Sanford Lewis, Esq. Blog on Corporate Governance

Categories: Shareholder Activism, In the Press

November 25, 2015

Franklin Resources loses bid to skip vote on climate change by Ross Kerber

"In a setback for Franklin Resources Inc that could have implications for other asset managers, a U.S. regulator declined to let the California company skip a shareholder vote over its record on climate change, according to materials provided by activists on Wednesday.

The decision by a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission official should help investors pressure other big fund firms to pay more attention to climate matters, said Sonia Kowal, president of Zevin Asset Management of Boston, the lead backer of the measure at Franklin Resources.

"It could be very significant in terms of follow-up effects at other companies, who have been happy not to think about these issues," Kowal said in an interview.

Read the full article via REUTERS.

Categories: Shareholder Activism, In the Press

November 15, 2015

ZAM Files Proxy Voting Resolution at T. Rowe Price

Zevin filed a resolution at T. Rowe Price asking the company to report any incongruities between the proxy voting practices of the company and its subsidiaries within the last year, and any of the company's policy positions regarding climate change.  A similar resolution filed at Franklin Resources this year was challenged by the company at the SEC and the SEC held that a proposal seeking to hold a mutual fund accountable for its poor voting record on climate proposals is not excludable from the proxy statement.

Category: Shareholder Activism

September 21, 2015

The Investment Implications of Mass Incarceration by Robert Kropp

In a three-part series and subsequent conference call, Sonia Kowal of Zevin Asset Management outlines for foundations and other investors the importance of aligning their strategies with their social missions.   Read the full article via SocialFunds.com

Category: In the Press

September 1, 2015

ZAM files at Disney and re-files two resolutions at UPS

Last week, ZAM filed a resolution at Walt Disney Company asking the Board to require comprehensive disclosure related to its direct, indirect, and grassroots lobbying activities.  For the second year in a row, ZAM co-filed a resolution with lead-filer Walden Asset Management at UPS also asking for full disclosure of lobbying activities.  For the third year, ZAM also filed an indirect lobbying disclosure resolution at UPS asking them specifically to review their membership with the controversial model legislation writing group ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council).

Category: Shareholder Activism

August 19, 2015

Shareholder Resolutions at Emerson Electric Press Company on Sustainability Reporting and GHG Climate Goals

ZAM co-files two shareholder resolutions at Emerson Electric Company. The first asks management to prepare a sustainability report to improve company transparency on environmental, social, and governance matters. ZAM co-filed similar resolutions with the Company the previous five years. The second resolution asks Emerson to set GHG climate goals. The primary filer on both resolutions is Walden Asset Management.

Category: Shareholder Activism

August 14, 2015

Be the Change in Our Community

This summer Zevin Asset Management employees participated in our first company-wide organized volunteer day. As part of a wider B corporation* community volunteer month that took place in June, Zevin chose to spend a morning working the land at The Food Project’s Boston Urban Farm location where it grows food for hunger relief organizations and local distribution.

The Food Project is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that has built a national model of engaging young people in personal and social change through sustainable agriculture. Each year, The Food Project works with hundreds of teenagers and thousands of volunteers to farm over 70 acres in eastern Massachusetts in the towns and cities of Beverly, Boston, Lincoln, and Lynn.

To read all about our day and how you can get involved click here.

Category: Organizational News

June 29, 2015

Investment Update - Greece: Dead End or Fresh Start?

For five years Greece has been subjected to a regime of totally inappropriate austerity. As a result, for five years its poverty and misery have increased along with its impossibly large debt burden. And for all that time many investors and observers, including us, have realized the obvious fact that Greece could not pay off its debts. The only reasonable course of action has been and still is for the lenders to recognize these facts and reverse their destructive insistence on austerity. A less tranquil alternative has been for Greece itself to simply refuse to pay. In effect that has now happened. To read the full investment update, click here.

Category: Investment Updates

June 13, 2015

Robert Zevin honored at Common Cause Event

Robert Zevin speaks in support of Common Cause

On Saturday, June 13, Robert Zevin was recognized for his leadership in socially responsible investing and for his longstanding support of Common Cause, an organization that has fought for open, accountable, and inclusive government for 40 years.  He was joined by friends and colleagues in  support of Common Cause’s Building a More Perfect Democracy brunch and its effort to stop big money in politics at the national, state, and local levels.  Common Cause also runs a campaign for a constitutional amendment to reverse Citizens United, works on legislation to add even more transparency to campaign funding and to public records, and has a grassroots campaign to encourage new voters through election reforms.  These are aims that Zevin Asset Management shares.

Category: Presentations

May 13, 2015

ZAM  withdrawals proposal after Wal-Mart agrees to aggregate state lobbying disclosures

We withdrew the proposal as a sign of "good faith" after Wal-Mart agreed to disclosure its lobbying at the state level. In doing this, Wal-Mart will be the first major company to provide a state-by-state breakdown of its lobbying expenditures. We have found Wal-Mart to be responsive to shareholder engagement "perhaps because they see disclosure of corporate involvement in politics as being increasingly important to investors and that interest is not likely to diminish."  Read the entire exclusive Reuters article here:  http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/05/13/us-wal-mart-stores-disclosure-lobbying-e-idUSKBN0NY0AH20150513

Category: Shareholder Activism

May 6, 2015

Sonia Kowal speaks at US SIF annual conference session "Investing in People, Not Prisons"

Sonia Kowal addresses why mass incarceration should concern investors, the employment prospects for ex-offenders and how investors can use their unique voice to further change at for-profit prisons in this vital civil rights issue of our time. 

Category: Presentations

May 4, 2015

Sonia Kowal moderates "Research from around the world on women, inequality and corporate performance" at US SIF conference

As part of the International Working Group (IWG)-Sustainable Investment Research Analyst Network (SIRAN) Event on  "Investing to Advance Women Globally" at the US SIF annual conference, the panel focuses on current research on the state of affairs of women in corporations.

Category: Presentations

April 29, 2015

ZAM Shareholder Resolution regarding lobbying disclosure receives 41.2% vote in favor of proposal at CenterPoint Energy

The resolution on lobbying disclosure asked CenterPoint Energy to provide a report on its lobbying expenditures, including indirect funding of lobbying through trade associations and organizations that write model legislation.  While the shareholder proposal regarding preparation of an annual report on lobbying was not approved, it did receive a 41.2% vote in favor of the proposal sending a strong message to the company that shareholders are concerned about transparency and increased disclosure on use of staff time and corporate funds to influence legislation and regulation both directly and indirectly. 

Category: Shareholder Activism

April 8, 2015

Sonia Kowal leads IAA webinar on Responsible Investing

Sonia Kowal leads the Investment Advisor Association's first webinar on socially responsible investing. This introductory webinar introduces investment advisors to the field and tackles questions such as what it means to invest responsibly, tools and strategies, and client interest levels. To listen to a recording click here.

Category: Presentations

April 6, 2015

Zevin Withdraws Resolution at ExxonMobil on Executive Compensation After Successful Dialogue  

Zevin Asset Management, a co-filer, withdraws a shareholder resolution filed by the Needmor Fund at Exxon Mobil asking the company to include sustainability-related metrics in setting senior executive compensation.  The filing called upon Exxon Mobil's Compensation Committee to “include sustainability as one of the performance measures for senior executives under the Company’s annual and/or long-term incentive plans. Sustainability is defined as how environmental, social and financial considerations are integrated into corporate strategy over the long term.”  After discussions between representatives of Exxon Mobil and the proponents earlier this year, Exxon pledged to provide additional disclosure on executive compensation and sustainability performance and continue the shareholder dialogue.  It is customary to withdraw shareholder resolutions after successful dialogue with the company.

March 4, 2015

Home Depot sets quantitative goals for renewable energy

ZAM withdraws our co-filed resolution with Trillium Asset Management at Home Depot after the company set quantitative goals for the sourcing and/or production of renewable energy. In making these commitments, Home Depot joins a growing number of companies that have already demonstrated the feasibility of investing in renewable energy to reduce emissions and power their businesses. There is now a stronger emphasis on the need for companies to diversify their energy sources. Although energy efficiency is crucial for reducing emissions, there is a limit to how far operational efficiencies can carry a company relative to the reductions needed to mitigate the worst impacts of climate change. Sourcing renewable energy is essential to achieve the greatest emissions reductions.

Category: Shareholder Activism

February 5, 2015

Zevin's 2014 Advocacy Highlights

At Zevin Asset Management, we are committed to social change and are actively involved in many efforts to improve sustainability, respect for civil rights and liberties, and economic justice. We are part of many collaborative, long-term efforts to advance progressive causes. Through our work, we hope to give power to other stakeholders, both inside and outside companies to achieve improvements.   Please click here to read a summary of our work on environmental, social and governance issues in 2014.

Category: Shareholder Activism

January 30, 2015

Pulte agrees to annual sustainability reporting after push from Zevin

As homebuyers become more educated about environmental options and green residential construction, and as policymakers increase incentives for green development and restrict conventional development efforts, we were concerned that the homebuilder Pulte might find itself at a competitive disadvantage if it did not integrate sustainable design and construction principles into its operations. In addition, risks from the physical impact of a changing climate could affect many parts of Pulte’s operations - including threats to raw materials, water supplies, and altering geographical patterns of habitation. Our communications with the company on these issues, as well as demand from their employees, have driven the company to agree to issue an annual sustainability report so we have withdrawn our shareholder proposal. We welcome this step given the huge impact this industry has on land, water, and energy use but will continue our dialogue with them to make sure that they are focusing on appropriate issues.

Category: Shareholder Activism

January 28, 2015

Zevin becomes a certified B-Corp

Zevin joins the ranks of companies deepening their commitment to sustainability by becoming a certified B-Corp. B-Corps are certified by B Lab to meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency. Zevin is honored to be part of a growing community of B-Corps contributing positive visions of a better way to do business.  For Zevin Asset Management that means dedication to its clients’ social and long-term financial goals through superb client service and risk averse investing and engagement with its portfolio companies on environmental, governance and social issues. To read the full press release, click here.

Category: Organizational News

January 3, 2015

Amber Fairbanks interviewed in Barron's

Amber Fairbanks discusses the outlook for one of the stocks she researches in an article in Barron's.

Category: In the Press

Past performance is not indicative of any specific investment or future results. Views regarding the economy, securities markets or other specialized areas, like all predictors of future events, cannot be guaranteed to be accurate and may result in economic loss to the investor. Specific securities identified and described may or may not be held in portfolios managed by Zevin Asset Management, LLC and do not represent all of the securities purchased, sold, or recommended for advisory clients. The reader should not assume that investments in the securities identified and discussed were or will be profitable. Any securities identified may not have beenselected based on their performance but as an illustrative tool for demonstrating ZAM's shareholder advocacy approach.