News Article

First Peoples Worldwide Announces Partnership with Trillium Asset Management

Research and Advocacy Collaboration To Promote Indigenous Voices in the Boardroom

Lisa MacKinnon, Trillium Asset Management (617) 423-6655
Katie Cheney, First Peoples Worldwide (540) 899-6545

February 1, 2012 — First Peoples Worldwide (FPW), a global indigenous nonprofit dedicated to strengthening Indigenous Peoples, today announced a new partnership with Trillium Asset Management.  Under the terms of the partnership, Trillium is undertaking custom research and shareholder advocacy focused on how corporate policies and programs can better protect and enhance Indigenous Peoples’ rights.

Founded in 1997 by widely acclaimed advocate Rebecca Adamson, FPW supports projects that preserve biodiversity, identify contemporary applications for traditional knowledge, mitigate the impact of climate change, and advocate free prior informed consent.

Adamson, a Cherokee, has developed creative, mutually beneficial economic models since 1970 and was just interviewed for the 2013 PBS series entitled “Women Who Make America.” Her work includes creating the first microloan fund in the United States, the first tribal investment model, a national movement for reservation land reform, and legislation that established new standards of accountability regarding federal trust responsibility for Native Americans.

First Peoples’ new small grants fund, Keepers of the Earth, makes grants directly to communities in ways that ensure capital is engaged to reflect cultural values.  It is an effective platform for donors who want 100 percent of their monies directed to some of the most remote grassroots communities in the world. FPW is the only organization worldwide that distributes global grants using the collaborative intelligence of indigenous wisdom to address contemporary challenges in areas of wealth, environment and cultural preservation.

In keeping with Rebecca’s ongoing focus on innovation, she looked to Trillium to help build a new partnership to promote Indigenous voices in the corporate boardroom.

Trillium is the oldest independent investment firm focused exclusively on Sustainable and Responsible Investing. Under this partnership, Trillium is leveraging its expertise in corporate responsibility research and advocacy as well as its deep ties within the sustainable investing community. This collaboration culminates in a FPW publication called “Corporate Engagement Strategies: Indigenous Partnerships for Best Practice Solutions.”

As part of this publication, Trillium is providing FPW with regular research updates examining best practices in corporate America and reviewing new developments in legal cases and local and national legislation.

Trillium is also helping FPW engage in broader policy discussions around corporate responsibility.  For example, Trillium helped FPW provide formal input into the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Guidelines’ next generation framework. A recent letter signed by Rebecca Adamson, and supported by Trillium, makes the case that the current GRI reporting guidelines can be significantly improved by developing indicators that more explicitly address the reporting organizations’ impact on Indigenous communities and how well companies are equipped to anticipate, forestall and mitigate negative impacts.

According to CEO Matt Patsky, “We believe Trillium Asset Management is uniquely positioned to work with First Peoples in developing cutting edge research and advocacy on Indigenous peoples’ issues. We have been integrating these issues into our investment process since our founding in 1982.”

Rebecca Adamson said of the partnership, “Our partnership with Trillium signifies one of the first genuine platforms for Indigenous grassroots voices to be heard by corporate America. Trillium’s deep understanding of research and advocacy related to corporate sustainability policies is a powerful springboard that drives grassroots voices into the boardroom.”

This partnership illustrates well Trillium’s ability to provide custom research and advocacy services on behalf of other groups of investors.  Trillium believes there may be a strong demand for such a service from a variety of investor groups.

This partnership is a natural extension of the work Trillium has undertaken for some time to address Indigenous peoples’ rights. Trillium was one of the first investment companies to explicitly reference Native American and Indigenous peoples’ rights as a specific area of focus in its sustainable investment criteria. Trillium also addresses these issues through dialogue and shareholder proposals with some of the largest companies in America.

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First Peoples Worldwide is a global development nonprofit based in Fredericksburg, VA with expertise in indigenous management principles and solutions for best practice in corporate strategies. The FPW flagship fund Keepers of the Earth links donors directly with communities all over the world by making small grants in ways that successfully apply indigenous intelligence and support economically effective platforms for positive change.

Trillium Asset Management, LLC is the oldest independent investment advisor devoted exclusively to sustainable and responsible investing. With over $950 million in assets under management, Trillium has been managing equity and fixed income investments for high net worth individuals, foundations, endowments, religious institutions, and other non-profits since 1982. A leader in shareholder advocacy and public policy work, Trillium’s goal is to deliver both impact and performance to its investors.