We are proud to congratulate Boston Common’s Director of ESG Research, Steven Heim on being selected as the ICCR Legacy Award recipient, an award honoring an individual whose work and influence has had a tremendous positive impact on corporate policies and practices. Steven Heim is a founding member of the Boston Common team with over thirty years of experience in the sustainable and responsible investment field. His commitment and expertise shine through his deep, research-derived perspective, unique lifelong personal and professional commitment to sustainability and inclusion, and his many successful innovations to the process of sustained investor dialogue with corporate leadership. His impact and influence throughout his career stand alone, and we are proud to acknowledge Steven’s legacy as a changemaker.
An impactful leader and thoughtful, active contributor, Steven has been at the forefront of three major transformative efforts to create a more just and sustainable world through investor and corporate action. His thoughtful and collaborative approach to corporate engagement has led to successful long-term change and impact.
Steven’s Impactful Engagement Efforts
The Low Carbon Energy Transition
Utilizing the investor voice, Steven advocated for greater transparency, improved ESG performance, and reduced GHG emissions at large corporations. He engaged with fossil-fuel producing companies and educated investors during a time when many questioned whether engagement with oil and gas companies about climate change would be more productive than divestment. Through multi-year dialogues, shareholder resolutions, and investor coalitions, Steven engaged with Statoil (known today as Equinor), which ultimately led in 2017 to Statoil becoming the first major player to divest its high-carbon-intensity Canadian oil sands venture, shifting its business strategy instead towards renewables and lower-carbon energy sources.
With Apache’s support, Steven organized an investor campaign with five natural gas pipeline companies and the Texas legislature from 2007–2009 to reduce gas leaks years before it became a critical issue for the industry. Apache helped investors improve their understanding and analysis of fracking practices through industry roundtables they co-hosted with Boston Common. Apache also improved company practices related to hydraulic fracking and Indigenous peoples rights as a result.
Indigenous People’s Rights
Steven’s early and continued focus on human rights and indigenous peoples rights including a strong focus on Free, Prior, and Informed Consent, set the bar for current practices and expectations of corporations especially the oil and gas and extractive sectors in how they operate. Steven takes an ecosystem and stakeholder approach to promoting Indigenous peoples rights from engaging directly with oil and gas companies, the banks financing these projects, and the Equator Principles Association. He has intentionally brought Indigenous peoples voices to the table in dialogue and organized meetings for investors to hear directly from impacted voices. Steven brought AmazonWatch to the table for dialogues with Burlington Resources and ConocoPhillips, he worked with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe representatives under the Dakota Access Pipeline multi-year engagement and traveled to the Amazon in Ecuador in 2015 to meet with Indigenous peoples, legislators, government officials, and the Chevron staff.
Just Transition to a Sustainable Future
Steven believes to build the transition to a regenerative future with inclusive prosperity, we must design and build it right. His work with the Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition to plan for the “end-of-life” disposal of solar panels, and his work with genuinely Regenerative agriculture are examples of engaging with Future-appropriate solutions. Steven is known for his leadership in defining Sustainable Solar and his role in the newly formed Investors for Sustainable Solar under the Investors for Environmental Health Network (IEHN). He has also contributed to solar sector standards on more sustainable practices.
Steven has been integral to defining Just Transition expectation within the Utilities sector, an important industry for the energy transition. Boston Common’s long-term engagement with Eversource, New England’s largest energy delivery system, exemplifies the impact investors can have. Through multi-stakeholder collaboration, Boston Common engaged Eversource to ensure the energy transition is just, equitable, and inclusive on a broad range of stakeholder viewpoints.
Forward-thinking, principled, and technologically educated, Steven has brought head and heart to every engagement, gaining the respect and trust of corporate leaders at the highest levels, while also building broad effective coalitions of engaged investors. Boston Common is incredibly honored to work with Steven, an authentic leader in the responsible investing industry and trailblazer in shareowner engagement. His legacy is forever embedded in the DNA of Boston Common Asset Management, and Steven continues to inspire us. Join us in congratulating Steven Heim, ICCR Legacy Award recipient.
Read the Press Release here.