This commitment is a natural and important step for us as an original signatory to the DivestInvest Philanthropy Pledge in 2014. At that time, TRFF joined 50 other foundations to sign the pledge, divesting $10 million of the investment portfolio from fossil fuel-related investments. This milestone was the beginning of a growing movement for TRFF and others to show that climate change isn’t simply an environmental issue; there are obvious economic and natural consequences of a warming world.
The impacts of climate change are far-reaching and interconnected. Disruptions span from food production and human health to infrastructure and ecosystems, and these effects can vary greatly from city to city, even neighborhood to neighborhood, disproportionately affecting marginalized communities. By making this commitment, we contribute to creating a low-carbon future that helps minimize climate risks while prioritizing our commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion and access. At TRFF, reducing emissions throughout our entire nearly $80-million-dollar investment portfolio and seeking new investments in a carbon-free economy will help us reach these goals and contribute to a healthier, more resilient future.
Maximizing positive impact has always been a primary objective of our work. In fact, it’s a big part of our story. In 1969, our founder – George F. Russell, Jr. – saw a need in the market and helped kickstart the era of investment consulting. Over the years, Russell Investments has created the gold standard for evaluating money managers, designing innovative funds, and crafting industry-wide benchmarks across the financial sector. It is because of that history that our identity is deeply tied to the idea of creating the right frameworks to empower others with our decades-long investment expertise at the center. But we know we will fall short of that commitment if we don’t use every tool in our toolbox.
To this end, TRFF took an exploratory leap in 2004 into impact investing – investments made into companies, organizations, and funds with the intention to generate social and environmental impact alongside a financial return. A few years later, in 2006, organizing Northwest foundations signed an investor letter from the Carbon Disclosure Project, an investors’ movement to address greenhouse gas emissions by global corporations, followed by our 2014 DivestInvest Philanthropy Pledge.