Posts

Human Resources Just Got Greener With Conscious-k

Krull & Company recently introduced Conscious-k, a new 401(k) solution for business owners and human resources personnel.

“We want to help companies create sustainable legacies and a value that goes beyond the bottom line,” says Pete Krull, founder of Krull & Company. “You have to give back to your people by offering a benefit that reflects who your employees are beyond the office.”

As a socially-responsible investment firm, Krull and Company extended their services with Conscious-k as a specific answer to a common question for business owners: when and how does a company set up a customized retirement plan? Market research showed that business owners and human resources would often avoid setting up a retirement plan option for employees because they either believed they didn’t have the right number of staff, or they felt overwhelmed by options.

A 401(k) plan allows employees to defer pretax dollars for their own retirement savings. These plans can be set up with or without an employer match and, in addition to a match, can allow a discretionary employer contribution each year.

“You want a retirement plan that’s easy to setup and explain to employees, but for talent retention, you have to offer something extra to that benefit,” says Krull. A fossil-fuel-free 401(k) portfolio can reflect this generation’s priorities, he explains.

“Employees want a fund that will help them save up for the future, but will also contribute to the world and make sure it’s still in great environmental shape when they’re ready to retire.”

For more information, visit Conscious-k.

FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT:

Catherine Campbell, Marketing and Communications

828-335-0787 // info@brightplanning.com

877-235-3684

Should Your Church Divest?

In the 21st century, religious congregations and committees must face the necessary integration of creation care with their commitment to stewardship. This isn’t a question of if, it’s a question of how. Simply having awareness of environmental and social issues is no longer an option for stewardship. Awareness needs to shift to tangible results by actively caring for the world in which we live.

Recently, there have been multiple opportunities for denomination leaders to consider taking their commitments to stewardship one step further in their fiduciary priorities. By divesting their investments from fossil fuel portfolios, they can then reinvest to sustainable and responsible investments. These actions often set a precedent for individual congregations to follow suit with their priorities for creation care and church finances.

On an individual congregation level, it can be challenging to serve on a finance committee when there are differing opinions and feedback on how church funds should be disbursed and appropriated. This slows the process for prioritizing investment changes to months, even years.

Finance committees have a main responsibility: to financially do what is in the best interest of the congregation.

This charge can extend beyond simple “dollars and cents” to reset the congregation’s intentions about the types of investments that are owned.

One philosophy gaining major traction in the wake of Pope Francis’s 2015 encyclical ‘Laudato si’ is the concept of selling fossil fuel investments and reinvesting in sustainable and responsible investments.

Most traditionally managed endowments only have to reallocate about 8% of their portfolios to accomplish this shift, and can still maintain competitive returns.

Our team launched ReVest to help congregations navigate this process of shifting investments so they’re more closely aligned with their 21st century priorities in creation care and stewardship. Check out this video featuring Susannah Tuttle, director of NC Interfaith Power and Light (NCIPL) and Pete Krull discussing the concept of ReVest.

Krull & Company Launches ReVest to Help Religious Organizations Divest and Reinvest

When it comes to responsible investing, Asheville-based Krull & Company is calling for faith-based organizations to take the concept of stewardship to a new level. The sustainable investment firm recently launched ReVest, a service designed to help congregations and individuals reallocate financial assets from fossil fuel investments to environmental and socially responsible funds.

To introduce this type of service to the faith-based communities, Krull & Company partnered with North Carolina Interfaith Power and Light (NCIPL) and Georgia Interfaith Power and Light. By working with places of worship in North Carolina and Georgia, the Krull and Company team can assess, analyze and recommend investment solutions using the ReVest approach and service.

“We believe each ReVest partnership—whether an individual faith-based family, a congregation, or a denomination leadership board—helps make the world a better place,” says Peter Krull, President. “Fiduciary responsibility extends beyond simple dollars and cents to being fully intentional about the types of investments that are owned.”

For example, Krull explains, most traditionally managed endowments only have to reallocate about 8% of their portfolios to socially- and environmentally-responsible assets, and can maintain competitive returns.

“One of the most powerful steps a congregation can take together is the financial demonstration of their commitment to creation care,” says Krull. “It’s a tangible way to ensure our most important communities are heard.”

FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT:

Catherine Campbell, Marketing and Communications

828-335-0787 // info@brightplanning.com

Pete Krull’s interview on Green Guy Radio

Eric Moncrief

Eric Moncrief

 

I had the honor of being the guest on the Green Guy Radio Show last week with Eric Moncrief. Had a great time discussing responsible investing, fossil fuel divestment, sustainability and more! Please take some time to listen to the show and share with your family and friends.

Presbyterian Church USA Misses the Mark on Fossil Fuel Divestment

The Presbyterian Church USA (PCUSA) had a chance last week to make history. During their General Assembly, the denomination delegates were presented with the opportunity to make changes to the investments of the Board of Pensions, the Presbyterian Foundation and the Presbyterian Investment and Loan Program, by divesting from fossil fuel companies. Unfortunately, the “overture” to divest was defeated despite the committee’s recommendation in favor.

PCUSA decided instead to take a “middle ground,” and to engage with fossil fuel companies through shareholder advocacy. Now shareholder advocacy has proven to be an effective tool for issues such as corporate governance, lobbying, pollution, human rights and equality. But never has advocacy been effective at changing the fundamental business model of a company. The idea that by engaging with oil/gas/mining companies and urging them to be better corporate citizens will change their behavior is naïve and a fools errand. Big Oil is not going to stop producing, refining and distributing oil because a few shareholders ask them to stop.

In my opinion, divestment is the only response to fossil fuel companies – both as a means of protest for their actions and as a fundamental investment move. The risk that fossil fuel companies currently present because of stranded assets and commodity volatility make them a questionable investment – especially for fiduciaries who oversee these institutional investments. PCUSA had the opportunity to make a major statement to the world that fossil fuel companies’ business of changing the chemical composition of the atmosphere for profit is unacceptable – a description that 350.org’s Bill McKibben has used often.

Perhaps the bigger opportunity was the potential to reinvest those fossil fuel assets into sustainable and responsible companies – companies focused on alternative energy, energy efficiency, battery and storage technology and other cutting-edge technologies. And while the adopted overture included the phrasing “consider an increasingly more diversified energy sector in their overall investment portfolios,” it is simply not strong enough – and is toothless without divestment.

I have been involved with this process as I served on three panels over the past year focused on Presbyterian divestment – two for the Western North Carolina Presbytery and one for Presbyterians for Earth Care. This decision is very disheartening, especially considering the need for bold actions. The climate will not wait for another General Assembly in two years.

On the positive side, the fossil fuel divestment movement continues to gain considerable ground as other churches, colleges and non-profits have made the commitment to divest. At a time when bold and decisive actions are needed, these organizations are to be applauded. Not to mention the countless individuals who have taken the step to remove fossil fuels from their individual accounts, trusts and retirement holdings.

I have no doubt that the PCUSA General Assembly will be faced with the same divestment overture in 2018, and with the work of Fossil Free PCUSA, Presbyterians for Earth Care and others, hopefully it will receive the consideration it deserves. In the meantime, individual congregations and parishioners can make their own divestment decisions – and reinvest in sustainable solutions. The climate won’t wait for talk. Visit www.divest-revest.com for more information on fossil fuel divestment for people of faith.

Fossil Fuel Divestment Gaining Momentum

Recently, the Norwegian Government Pension Fund Global, the world’s largest sovereign wealth fund, announced that it would be selling shares of Duke Energy and other coal-burning utilities from it’s portfolio. Why is this important? Because the pension fund is one of Duke’s largest shareholders, holding around 0.76 percent of the company’s outstanding shares.

It is also important because it is one of the first major government investments to decide to divest from fossil fuel companies. Many colleges, institutions and non-profits have been selling their shares recently. 350.org has been a major driver of the divestment movement internationally, including organizing Global Divestment Day on February 13, 2015.

The rationale behind fossil-fuel divestment is multi-fold:

       Investments in fossil-fuels does not align with many people/institution’s values

       To shape public policy/discussion and to limit influence by well-funded energy companies

       Potentially reduce financial risk from liabilities or stranded assets

       To reallocate investments to more sustainable companies

Krull & Company, Asheville’s only socially and environmentally responsible investment management firm has been offering fossil-fuel-free portfolios to clients since 2012. Our Green Sage Sustainability Portfolio has been used as a reinvestment option for individuals and institutions that are divesting from fossil fuels. In addition, we also offer two diversified mutual fund portfolios with no fossil-fuels! Contact us to learn more.