Stephanie Leighton Testifies at MA State House in Favor of Environmental Infrastructure Bonds
On September 18, 2013, Stephanie Leighton, CFA testified at the Massachusetts State House in favor of House Bill 3332: “An Act Providing for the Preservation and Improvement of Land, Parks and Clean Energy in the Commonwealth”.
Stephanie’s testimony is below:
“Representative Gobi, Senator Pacheco and members of the committee: Good afternoon and thank you for giving me the opportunity to address the Committee today.
My name is Stephanie Leighton. I am a Senior Vice President and portfolio manager at Trillium Asset Management, the oldest investment advisor devoted exclusively to sustainable and responsible investing. Trillium is based here in Boston and many of our clients are in the Boston area, and more broadly in Massachusetts.
I am a Chartered Financial Analyst charter holder and earned my MBA from Northeastern University. I am a member of the Boston Security Analysts Society and the CFA Institute. I have 31 years of investment experience.
I am here to testify in support of House Bill 3332: “An Act Providing for the Preservation and Improvement of Land, Parks and Clean Energy in the Commonwealth”.
Our employee-owned firm has managed socially and environmentally screened investment portfolios for individuals and institutions since 1982. We manage $1.2 billion of client assets, of which $53 million is invested in municipal bonds. We have seen strong client interest in environmentally focused bonds, which currently represent approximately 5% of our firm’s $179 million of fixed income assets under management, and 3.8% of our municipal bond holdings. Our firm recently purchased $1.9 million of Massachusetts General Obligation Green Bonds for clients, which among other things support renewable energy development in the Commonwealth.
We would welcome the opportunity to invest in bonds for capital projects focused on environmental needs and projects. We believe that such bonds are important because they allow clients to help support infrastructure development for environmental needs and projects, while still earning a healthy return. In addition, our clients have a long-term focus and recognize the need for capital investments in infrastructure, particularly in projects protecting waterways, natural habitats, energy efficiency, and water pollution abatement, such as those which would be funded under House Bill 3332.
According to a report funded by the Massachusetts-based Barr Foundation and The Trust for Public Lands, there is a very high Return on Investment for environmental preservation and green investment:
· For every $1 invested in land conservation, $4 in natural goods and services is returned to the Massachusetts economy.
· Visitors to Massachusetts spend an estimated $16.9 billion each year and generate $1.1 billion in state and local taxes. The total economic impact of this travel is $26.9 billion. Tourism supports nearly 125,000 jobs, which provides $3.63 billion in wages per year.
· Outdoor recreation generates $10 billion in consumer spending, $739 million in state and local tax revenue, 90,000 jobs, and $3.5 billion in wages and salaries each year in the state.
· Agriculture, forestry, commercial fishing, and related processing activity are responsible for $13 billion in output, and 147,000 jobs in Massachusetts.
Environmental protection and solid investment value are priorities for our clients. Investors now expect to align their investments with their values, and municipal bonds funding improvements to our environmental infrastructure are an excellent way to do that. Ultimately, these are the types of positive outcomes that our clients want to support with their investment.
I am pleased to know that this Committee is exploring a series of Environmental Infrastructure bonds offerings in our Commonwealth.”