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Boston Business Journal: Viewpoint: Boston Must Divest from Prisons, Reinvest in its Values

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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The views expressed are those of the authors and Trillium Asset Management, LLC as of the date referenced and are subject to change at any time based on market or other conditions. These views are not intended to be a forecast of future events or a guarantee of future results. These views may not be relied upon as investment advice. The information provided in this material should not be considered a recommendation to buy or sell any of the securities mentioned.

It should not be assumed that investments in such securities have been or will be profitable. To the extent specific securities are mentioned, they have been selected by the authors on an objective basis to illustrate views expressed in the commentary and do not represent all of the securities purchased, sold or recommended for advisory clients. The information contained herein has been prepared from sources believed reliable but is not guaranteed by us as to its timeliness or accuracy, and is not a complete summary or statement of all available data. This piece is for informational purposes only.

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