January 25, 2016
Plymouth’s endowment invests in a socially responsible manner. In practice, this means we seek investments with social benefits, like renewable energy, and avoid investments that carry high social costs, like gun manufacturers. It also means we use our voice as investors. One reason we chose several years ago to work with Trillium Asset Management as our investment manager was that, in addition to being one of the leading firms that considers Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) factors in its investment “screens,” Trillium is also very active as a representative for its shareholder clients in pressing corporations to improve ESG practices and policies. This past year, Plymouth participated in seven shareholder proposals at major US corporations on issues of income inequality (Chipotle, TJX, Panera Bread), greenhouse gas emissions (EOG Resources) and political lobbying (Wells Fargo, Marathon Petroleum).
In January, 2016, EOG Resources agreed, in response to our petition, to begin reporting on its methane emissions rate, to begin reporting on its leak detection and repair program and to discuss in proxy materials its commitments on methane gas emission. Progress with EOG is a key step in Trillium’s long-term goal of improving industry-wide performance in this area and thus reducing methane emissions to the atmosphere. Since methane is a key factor causing human-induced global warming, this is an important result. We look forward to continuing to work on these and other issues of importance to Plymouth. —Don Schlosser, Chair Investment Committee