The untimely death of Joan Bavaria, Founder and CEO of Trillium Asset Management, has greatly saddened all of us at Domini Social Investments.
Among those privileged to work with Joan at Franklin Research & Development Co. (Trillium’s former name) at formative stages in their careers were Amy Domini, our Founder and CEO, and Steve Lydenberg, our Chief Investment Officer. Amy Domini dedicated her first book, Ethical Investing, to her.
Aptly named “Hero for the Planet” by Time.com in 1999, Joan Bavaria dedicated her life to improving the world through socially responsible investing, and inspiring others to join her. Her accomplishments are legion, and the institutions she helped to build have achieved successes that were unimaginable — except perhaps by Joan — when they were first launched.
- The Social Investment Forum (SIF), the only national membership association dedicated to advancing the concept, practice, and growth of socially and environmentally responsible investing, was founded in Joan’s living room in 1981. SIF's membership now includes more than 500 social investment practitioners and institutions, including financial professionals, analysts, portfolio managers, banks, mutual funds, researchers, foundations, community development organizations, and public educators. “Social Investment Forums,” or their equivalent, now exist in the U.K., Europe, Canada, and Korea.
- Joan was the cofounder of Ceres, the largest coalition of investors and environmental and public interest organizations in North America. Joan served as co-chair of Ceres for 19 years of extraordinary achievements. Ceres has been a global catalyst for change, and a forum for intelligent discussion on our most significant environmental challenges. In 1989, the Coalition released the Ceres Principles, a corporate environmental code of conduct currently endorsed by many of the largest companies in the world. Ceres developed the world’s most rigorous corporate environmental reporting format and launched the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), now the leading international standard for corporate reporting on environmental, social and economic performance. GRI is used by 1,300 companies globally. Ceres also launched the Investor Network on Climate Risk, an alliance of over 70 investors with more than $7 trillion in collective assets dedicated to addressing climate change.
- Her own firm, Trillium Asset Management, has been a leader in its field since its inception, and has been our partner on numerous shareholder activism campaigns.
Amy Domini: “Joan was an inspirational visionary. She had the most extraordinary ability to take complex concepts and make them clear. Joan was the sort of a person who would see that something needed to be done, and do it. She never worried about how hard or easy that might be.”
Steve Lydenberg: “It was a privilege to work with Joan. Her vision and persistence in building the SRI movement in the U.S. was an inspiration to us all. We who follow in her footsteps can only hope to accomplish half of what she had done.”
Joan’s death comes at a time when so many of the seeds she planted are taking root around the world, and flourishing. Our future will be brighter and healthier for the work she did. All of us that have been working for a more just and sustainable economic system owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to Joan.
Our deepest condolences go out to her family and to our friends at Trillium.