April 7, 2019 // Boston, MA: Boston Business Journal published an Opinion Editorial written by Trillium’s CEO, Matt Patsky, and President of Boston Common Asset Management, Geeta Aiyer that discussed the need for Boston to divest from private prisons. Investments in the prison industrial complex, “a term used to describe the wide spectrum of parties commercially interested in mass incarceration and surveillance,” create ethical, and financial risk challenges for the city of Boston, as these institutions are “financially incentivized to expand the number of people incarcerated.”
With previous social rights related divestment movements supported by the City of Boston, activists are hopeful that divestment in prisons is quite attainable for the city, and necessary if the city wishes to continue its known public value-set of activism. “In the lead up to the collapse of South Africa’s apartheid, Boston exceeded New York City and Philadelphia’s initiative by enacting an ordinance with the most far-reaching divestment provisions of that time, causing Massachusetts to become the first state to divest from South Africa. The spirited and passionate citizens of Boston now have another opportunity to divest from racial injustice and xenophobic harm, reinvest in the values they hold, and lead the country once again.”
The article also argues that entities that gain financially from a destructive system such as prisons, pose substantial financial risk due to the volatility of the political atmosphere over short periods. Trillium and Boston Common have been long excluding these types of assets from portfolios due to morality concerns, and as a risk management tool to protect market-rate returns.
To read the full Op-Ed, read the full article here.
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