Industry salutes Boston Common president Geeta Aiyer, who calls 2015 ‘pivotal year for sustainability’
(San Francisco) A panel of judges from the investment, business, and NGO worlds today awarded the prestigious Joan Bavaria Award to Boston Common’s president and founder, Geeta Aiyer. The award, instituted by Ceres and Trillium Asset Management, is given to those who have led the way in creating more sustainable capital markets. The announcement was made at the Ceres Conference, which is running today and tomorrow at The Fairmont in San Francisco.
In her acceptance speech, Ms. Aiyer spoke of her 27-year journey in sustainable and responsible investments (SRI) but quipped we are, ‘not done yet.’ She said,
“It’s a tremendous honor to receive this Award, which is also a tribute to the great team I work with at Boston Common to build an integrated, successful model for engaged, sustainable global investing. When I started in the Responsible Investment movement over twenty-five years ago, it was a small niche, and I’ve been excited to see it grow to attract institutional and mainstream investors, while staying true to its values. Here in the U.S., SRI assets now account for over $6.5 trillion – nearly 18% of all investment assets. But the industries’ challenges have grown too. From tackling climate change to protecting human rights in global supply chains – the need for responsible investing to make an impact has never been greater.”
Ms. Aiyer said, “2015 will be a make-or-break year for the sustainability movement.. As we move towards the Paris international conference on climate change in December, all of those involved in sustainability must move markets to show that the transition to a low-carbon economy can be a quick and smooth one. I have always been inspired by the words of Martin Luther King who said, “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” I think this should galvanize us all to stand up and be counted in this pivotal year.”
Ms. Aiyer also gave special thanks to the organizers of the Award and added, “Joan Bavaria was a legend of the industry, and it’s a very great privilege to receive an award in her name.”
The award honors the memory of Joan Bavaria, a pioneer of social investing who founded Ceres and Trillium Asset Management. Past recipients include Sister Patricia Daly, OP, executive director of the Tri-State Coalition for Responsible Investment, Tessa Tennant, President and co-founder of The Ice Organisation, and William Foote, founder and CEO of Root Capital.
Mindy Lubber, president of Ceres and director of the Investor Network on Climate Risk (INCR) said, “Geeta Aiyer has been a monumental force in building the SRI movement, which has been expanding in leaps and bounds. She has challenged traditional thinking and promoted a new way to approach investing.”
Notes to editor
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Geeta Aiyer, CFA, is President and Founder of Boston Common Asset Management and a member of the Advisory Council of the UN-supported Principles for Responsible Investment. Aiyer’s career as an investor and entrepreneur has focused on sustainable and responsible investing, pioneering its expansion into the global space for U.S. investors. With over 25 years of investment experience, her unique leadership has been demonstrated in founding two successful investment firms: Walden Capital Management (1994) and Boston Common Asset Management (2003), as well as an NGO, Direct Action for Women Now (DAWN). She serves on the Board of Directors of several organizations, including the Sierra Club Foundation, Earthworks, YW Boston, and Ubuntu at Work. She was formerly on the boards of the Worldwatch Institute and the New England Foundation for the Arts. Aiyer holds the Chartered Financial Analyst designation from the CFA Institute and received her MBA from Harvard Business School.
About Boston Common Asset Management
Boston Common Asset Management is an experienced investment manager dedicated to the pursuit of financial return and social change. We invest over $2 billion on behalf of institutional and individual investors – exclusively offering sustainable and responsible investment options. Each of our strategies intentionally integrates in-depth research into company specific Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) practices. We combine this research with rigorous financial analysis to build diversified portfolios of high-quality, socially responsible companies. As shareowners, we urge our portfolio companies to improve transparency, accountability, and attention to ESG issues. Boston Common is employee-owned and was recognized in 2013 and 2014 as one of the top 100 women-led firms in Massachusetts. We are proud to have built a strong investment record and believe we have meaningfully improved corporate practices globally through our engagement.
In 2015 Boston Common Asset Management signed the ‘Montreal Pledge’ – an initiative run by the UN-supported Principles for Responsible Investment, which commits the firm to measuring and reporting the carbon footprint of its investments.