Publications & Resources



The Case Against GMOs: An Environmental Investor's View of the Threat to Our Global Food Systems
October 2014

Genetically Modified (GM) crops have been surrounded by controversy since their first deployment nearly twenty years ago, but have still become the fastest-adopted crop technology in recent history.  The usage of GM crops imposes a wide variety of negative effects, not just on the farmers that choose to use them, but on the entire agricultural system and on consumers.

"The Case Against GMOs: An Environmental Investor’s View of the Threat to our Global Food Systems" is intended to provide responsible investors a closer look at the complex risks associated with GM crops, and provide a basis for their exclusion from an Environmental, Social And Governance (ESG) investment strategy. This paper looks at the history of GM crops in the context of industrialized agriculture, the regulatory framework, obstacles to objective research, and case studies in developing markets to build the case against GM crops.

The Case Against GMOs




Global Equity Strategy Environmental Impact Report
October 2014

Portfolio 21 is pleased to announce the publication of the Global Equity Strategy Environmental Impact Report. This report summarizes a recent research project Portfolio 21 has undertaken with Trucost, a leading global research and environmental data provider, to calculate the cumulative environmental footprint of the Strategy’s holdings.

We are excited to share that as of September 30, 2014 the companies held in the Strategy have, on average, a 56% smaller carbon footprint and 48% lower environmental footprint than the MSCI All Country World Index (ACWI)*, an index that approximates the world stock market.

Global Equity Strategy Impact Report 9/30/14



Perspectives-on-Sustainable-Palm-Oil-Cover-139w-x-180hPerspectives on “Sustainable” Palm Oil:  Problematic Certification Systems and the Responsible Investor
March 2014

Over the last decade, palm oil has become the largest single source of dietary oils in the global food system. Its growth has been accompanied by a host of issues, such as deforestation, biodiversity loss, and exploitation of local communities. There are some efforts underway to improve business practices, but the most prominent industry sustainability organization, now representing over 1,000 companies, has been widely criticized for lax standards and failure to enforce compliance.

"Perspectives on 'Sustainable' Palm Oil" is intended to provide responsible investors with an overview of the global palm oil supply chain and identify the emerging best practices in this challenging industry.

Perspectives on “Sustainable” Palm Oil: Problematic Certification Systems and the Responsible Investor




Beyond-Fossil-Fuel-Free-Investing-Cover 139w x 180hBeyond Fossil Fuel Free Investing: Reducing Global Energy Demand through Efficiency
October 2013

While going “fossil fuel free” is a good place for investors to start, it only addresses the supply side of the energy equation. Understanding the energy efficiency of a company, country, or region allows investors to deal with the critical demand side of the equation. This is where tremendous opportunity may be found for companies with superior strategies, as well as for cost effective methods to mitigate the degrading impact on our environment from growing energy demand.

"Beyond Fossil Fuel Free Investing" summarizes some of Portfolio 21's research on the global energy system and covers energy usage, sources, and opportunities for achieving increased efficiency throughout the world.

Beyond Fossil Fuel Free Investing: Reducing Global Energy Demand through Efficiency



Managing-Investment-Portfolios-Cover-139w-x-180hManaging Investment Portfolios without Fossil Fuel Stocks
October 2013 (Updated)

In the investment community, there is currently an effort underway to divest coal, oil, and gas production companies.  This paper provides information for investors interested in the emerging "fossil free investing" movement. This campaign is seeking to encourage divestment from fossil fuel companies due to their climate change impact and corporate environmental practices.

"Managing Investment Portfolios without Fossil Fuel Stocks" discusses Portfolio 21's long held rationale for not investing in the sector, and our experience managing global equity portfolios without fossil fuel exploration and production stocks.

Managing Investment Portfolios without Fossil Fuel Stocks



Approaches to Environmental-Investing-Cover-139w-x-180hApproaches to Environmental Investing
April 2013

There are many reasons investors may pursue environmental investing: to improve the resilience of our society, to avoid investment risk, or to seek new opportunities. Investment managers may share these basic goals and assumptions, however, methods for conducting environmental research and formulating strategy vary widely.

"Approaches to Environmental Investing" is intended to illuminate the key concepts of environmental investing and assist investors in navigating differences among approaches.

Approaches to Environmental Investing




US SIF: The Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment

Portfolio 21 Investments is a member and supporter of US SIF, an association of investors, asset managers, and others who are engaged in responsible and sustainable investing.

United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment

Portfolio 21 Investments is a signatory to the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment.

Ecological Footprint Network

Portfolio 21 Investments is a member of the Global Footprint Network, which seeks to accelerate the use of the ecological footprint to assess and reduce our impact.  The co-founder of the network, Susan Burns, was instrumental in the development of the criteria we use to evaluate companies.


*The MSCI ACWI (All Country World Index) is a free float-adjusted market capitalization weighted index that is designed to measure the equity market performance of developed and emerging markets. The MSCI ACWI consists of 44 country indices comprising 23 developed and 21 emerging market country indices. An investment cannot be made directly in an index. Returns reported reflect the net total return index, which reinvests dividends after the deduction of withholding taxes, using a tax rate applicable to non-resident institutional investors who do not benefit from double taxation treaties. 


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