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June 08, 2015

Community Capital Management Expands Green Bond Offerings
    by Robert Kropp

The fixed income investment adviser offers opportunities for sustainable investors to meet their community investment mission.

SocialFunds.com -- In January, 2014, I attended a climate change conference at the United Nations, hosted by Ceres. A highlight of the conference was Ceres' unveiling of the Green Bond Principles (GBP), an important component of a Clean Trillion Campaign to increase private investment in clean energy to $1 trillion per year by 2030.

I have to admit, the presence of an employee of Bank of America on the dais when the GBP were announced gave me pause; after all, I had covered the research of the Netherlands-based nongovernmental organization (NGO)
BankTrack extensively, and its reports had consistently identified BofA as the leading financier of such environmentally destructive projects as mountaintop coal removal. (At its most recent annual general meeting, in May of this year, BofA announced that it is gradually phasing out its investments in coal extraction projects.)

Short of a major upheaval in the sociopolitical structures in which we currently operate, the vast majority of funding of the low carbon transition will have to come from private investment; and one financial institution that has demonstrated its sustainability credentials since 1997 is
Community Capital Management (CCM), a Florida-based fixed income investment advisory firm. Fixed income investments are an essential part of an sustainable investor's portfolio, because they contribute to community development while offering a consistent return on investment.

"CCM has been buying green bonds since 1999, before there was even a 'green' label," said David Sand, chief investment strategist at CCM. The firm's two recent green bond purchases illustrate his point.

Flats 170 at Academy Yard, in Maryland, “was built with over 75% recycled and regionally sourced materials both stimulating the local economy and minimizing energy required for transportation,” CCM reported. “Over 90% of the construction waste during development was recycled and diverted from landfills.” The units were built to achieve LEED Silver Certification.

The second project, in New York City, financed the firm's acquisition of 23 affordable housing mortgage loans. “It achieved LEED Gold Certification from the US Green Building Council for its innovative environmentally responsible design,” CCM stated. “It offers many green features including a storm water reclamation system that recycles water for irrigation; motion sensors located in stairways and corridors to conserve electricity; and building-integrated photovoltaic panels that produce electricity from the sun's energy. At the heart of the property is a dynamic garden and series of green roofs that serve as the organizing architectural element and identity for the community.”

“CCM’s green bond portfolios are actively managed and seek to provide investors with above-average, risk-adjusted returns while financing environmental initiatives,” the firm states. “We believe our approach provides an added layer of investment transparency by detailing the use of bond proceeds and providing comprehensive reports on the environmental initiatives being financed. Many of our green bond investments have additional benefits such as job creation, economic development, and neighborhood revitalization.”

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