Chair, President, and CEO, Calvert Investments
Increasingly, finance professionals are realizing the importance of protecting our world’s biodiversity resources. Investors and companies, alike, rely on clear regulations such as the Endangered Species Act to protect the long-term health of environmental and financial systems, which are evermore interdependent. As the leading investment manager focused on creating shareholder value through the lens of sustainability, Calvert Investments incorporates biodiversity and environmental concerns into our investment criteria, our proxy voting, and in engagements with companies we hold. The end goal is always to both expose risks and identify opportunities.
At forty years old, the Endangered Species Act hardly looks middle-aged. The Act supports both sustainable businesses and ecosystems, and that never gets old.
In some industries like agriculture and food production, the loss of a few key species could have significant economic impact. About a third of our food is grown with the help of pollinators, for example. As domesticated U.S. honeybees have declined by almost half in the past few years from colony collapse disorder, wild pollinators like bumble bees and butterflies have been helping support U.S. agricultural production. Wild pollinators are worth up to $2.4 billion to California farmers alone, according to a 2011 study. Pollinators are part of an ecosystem, of course, and the survival of endangered pollinators like Monarch butterflies is entwined with the plants they pollinate. When a select species of plant disappears, the pollinator is also at risk, and the reverse is also true. The Endangered Species Act helps ensure that the most vulnerable elements of the whole system are protected.
Business leaders also see biodiversity as an opportunity, and respond to this opportunity by developing new concepts or products from renewable resources. The pharmaceutical industry benefits enormously from compounds found in nature that can be developed into novel drugs. Materials scientists study plants, insects, and animals for new product ideas, such as adhesives that mimic the shape of microscopic hairs found on gecko feet. These businesses rely on a rich diversity of species for research and product development.
As the environmental stresses on our planet intensify—with increasing population, climate change, and a growing global middle class that demands more goods and services—the business community looks to the public sector for partnership and long-term solutions. At forty years old, the Endangered Species Act hardly looks middle-aged. The Act supports both sustainable businesses and ecosystems, and that never gets old.
Calvert Investments is the leading investment management company using sustainability as a platform to create value. Serving financial advisors and their clients, retirement plans and insurance carriers, and institutional investors, the company offers a broad array of equity, bond, cash and asset allocation strategies, many of which feature integrated environmental, social, and governance (ESG) research and corporate engagement. Strategies are available through mutual funds, sub-advisory services, and separate account management. Founded in 1976 and headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland, Calvert Investments had more than $12 billion in assets under management as of May 31, 2013. www.Calvert.com