IMPACT Awards 2023

Faith-based organisation of the year: Praxis Mutual Funds

Looking to make impact investment an option for all investors, Praxis Mutual Funds says it delivers programmes to financial advisors so they can better steward the financial savings of everyday investors towards environmental and impact investments.

Stella TaiThe faith-based family of mutual funds states it is not enough to just screen out environmentally objectionable companies but rather to include grey-area companies in a diversified portfolio, in order for impact investors to use their position as shareholders to encourage positive change.

This shareholder advocacy is something Praxis applies. Over the last year, it engaged US retail company Target on its human rights policies, to ensure compliance with human rights standards the company had set.

Elsewhere it engaged with US utilities AES, American Electric Power, Duke Energy, and Southern Company, which has resulted in the four making net zero commitments by 2050, with a 50% reduction in emissions by 2030 as well as adherence to just transition principles, and to advocate for public policy that encourages the low carbon transition. In total, over the year, Praxis reports it participated in 1,364 meetings and voted on 16,465 proposals.

Praxis focuses its impact investing and advice across seven strategies, called ImpactX. These are:

  • Values + ESG screening - to communicate the values it holds but, Praxis admits, has limited potential to promote real-world impact.
  • Values-based proxy voting - to provide consistent corporate communication and support for values and environmental, social, and governance (ESG) resolutions on ballots.
  • ESG integration - to ensure the intentional inclusion of material ESG data in the investment selection process.
  • Investments in 'positive impact bonds' to deliver targeted benefits to the climate and/or communities through market-rate investments.
  • Intentional dialogue with senior leaders through both shareholder and bondholder company engagement to promote real, impactful change in corporate policy and practice.
  • Active involvement with industry advocacy and education efforts to help promote a transparent business environment that benefits all stakeholders.
  • Sustainable investments promoting the inclusion and development of underserved communities through community investing to offer the most potential for real-world change where it is needed most.

"We are thrilled to again be recognised for our work helping everyday investors make real impact by aligning their faith and values with their investments," said Stella Tai, stewardship investing impact and analysis manager at Praxis Mutual Funds. "Our seven ImpactX strategies have helped promote lasting change in communities and environments around the world."

Praxis currently has $2.4 billion in assets under management.