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Investing for Social Impact >>

First Report on Green Bond Impact

Dec. 17, 2017

On Sept. 1, 2017, Portico invested with Nuveen Asset Management in a green bond strategy targeting two categories of investments — those focused on renewable energy and emission reduction, and those focused on sustainability and wise use of natural resources. This latest social impact first (SIF) investment seeks positive environmental impact through four of our eight ELCA social purpose funds — the SP Bond Fund, SP 40e, SP 60e, and SP 80e.

It’s been a Portico objective since 2015 to carefully and steadily increase the number of SIF investments made through our ELCA social purpose funds. We make these investments to realize both solid financial returns for our member investors and positive social outcomes important to the ELCA like affordable housing, reduced greenhouse gas emissions, and renewable energy.

Portico Investment Analyst, Erin Ripperger

A green bond is like any other regular bond but with one key difference; the money raised by the issuer is earmarked to finance environment-friendly assets and business activities. “This SIF investment is designed to deliver solid returns to members,” says Erin Ripperger, Portico’s socially responsible investing and investor advocacy analyst,“but it’s, first and foremost, designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and preserve natural resources. Through these bonds, we’re supporting renewable energy initiatives like developing solar farms and projects focused on conservation and sustainability like construction of clean municipal water facilities.”

Important to all SIF investments is proof of impact, and Portico seeks out investment managers willing to provide data reporting and stories of impact. Nuveen will share with Portico quantitative and qualitative proof of impact on an annual basis like the two stories described below. Next year, expect to hear more stories of impact made possible by our SIF investment in Nuveen-managed green bonds.

Nuveen is the asset management subsidiary of the non-profit Fortune 100 financial services organization, TIAA. As a non-profit organization, TIAA serves teachers much as Portico serves rostered and lay church workers, a fact that strengthened Portico’s interest in this investment.

Learn more about SIF and social purpose funds

Examples of Nuveen Green Bond Impact

Investment in Wind Generation

Nuveen Asset Management invested in a leveraged loan security for ExGen Renewables I, LLC, a subsidiary of Exelon Corporation. ExGen Renewables indirectly owns 13 wind generation projects located in Idaho, Kansas, Michigan, New Mexico, Oregon, and Texas. They are all operating in well-known and proven wind regimes, sites with documented atmospheric attributes supporting wind generation.

Green Impact:
Jan. – Oct. 2013, these 13 projects:

  • Generated 1,614 gigawatt hours of electricity — enough to power about 195,000 average homes for a year
  • Will annually avoid creating 1.6 million tons of carbon dioxide, equivalent to taking 234,207 cars off the road each year

Investment in Sustainable Shopping Malls

Nuveen Asset Management invested in a corporate green bond issued by Regency Centers L.P., a national owner of shopping centers. Net proceeds funded 9 energy-efficient, water-conserving real estate projects located in five U.S. states. All were designed to receive Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification, a worldwide green building certification program that uses data to rate a building’s potential environmental impacts and human benefits. Platinum is the top certification, followed by Gold, Silver, and Certified.

Green Impact:
As of March 31, 2016, 8 properties had received the following LEED ratings, and the ninth property is in the process of getting certified.

  • 2 at the gold level
  • 5 at the silver level
  • 1 at the certified level
Man working by wind turbine


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