On May 11, the MLA Board of Directors, on recommendation of the MLA Finance Committee, approved a new MLA investment policy that now includes requirements related to Socially Responsible Investing (SRI).
The investment policy is a document that MLA's investment company complies with when making decisions on what stocks, bonds, and other assets should be traded for MLA's two investment funds, which have a combined total of approximately $3.8M:
- Reserve Fund: accumulated from proceeds of MLA operations over the years
- Endowment Fund: accumulated from donations generally restricted for specific use to support awards, fellowships, scholarships and prizes
The MLA investment policy defines objectives for the investment of those funds, such as time horizon, income, liquidity, risk tolerance, asset allocation, and restrictions. Now, the policy includes directives to ensure that MLA invests in a socially responsible manner. The approach relies on evaluations by a multitude of independent rating entities specialized in SRI in community, employees, environment, and governance areas that specify targets that evolve over time.
This evidence-based approach relies on hundreds of thousands of data points, is quantified (so comparable year to year), and eliminates implicit bias at the MLA level. Each of the four areas are divided up into the following:
- Community: community development & philanthropy; human rights & supply chain; and product
- Employees: compensation & benefits; diversity & labor rights; and training, health & safety
- Environment: energy & climate change; environment policy & reporting; and resource management
- Governance: board; leadership ethics; and transparency & reporting
The independent investment manager will provide the Finance Committee an annual SRI report. The Finance Committee will then evaluate the portfolio performance, set SRI objectives for the following year, and provide an annual summary to the Board of Directors and to members during the Treasurer's report at the annual business meeting, starting in May 2022.
Socially responsible investment is one of the objectives of MLA’s overall strategy on diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Shannon D. Jones, AHIP