March 23, 2021

Nuveen Green Bond Impact Results for 2019

Investors in Portico’s social purpose (SP) funds get two kinds of returns — financial returns and evidence of social impact. The chart below describes the positive environmental impact of the Portico funds’ $25 million social impact first (SIF) investment in Nuveen Asset Management’s green bond strategy helped to create during 2019.

“This impact report is part of the return on investment for members who, in 2019, were invested in the ELCA Social Purpose Bond Fund or any of the Social Purpose Balanced Funds,*” said Erin Ripperger, Portico’s senior socially responsible investment analyst. “This is their opportunity to celebrate the many ways their investment had positive impact on the environment.”

2019 Impact Created Through Nuveen’s Green Bonds

The information below describes positive environmental impact created during 2019 by Portico through its social purpose funds and other investors through these social purpose investments.

Via Investments in Renewable Energy

These securities support new or expand existing renewable energy projects (including hydroelectric, solar, and wind), smart grid, and other projects designed to make power generation and transmission systems more efficient. They also support other energy efficiency projects which result in the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

  • Avoided 68.1 million metric tons of CO2-equivalent emissions, equivalent to taking 14.7 million cars off the road for one year.
  • Reduced air pollutants by 2,964 metric tons.
  • Added 960,019 daily riders on new public transit.

Saved 2.1 million megawatt-hours of energy, equivalent to taking 254,000 homes off the grid for one year.

Created 22,118 megawatts of renewable energy capacity, equivalent to building more than 7,300 large wind turbines.

Generated 269.2 million megawatt-hours of renewable energy, equivalent to powering 22 million homes for one year.

Via Investments in Natural Resources

These securities support sustainable building projects; water infrastructure, including improvement of clean drinking water supplies and/or sewer; land conservation; sustainable forestry and agriculture; and remediation and redevelopment of polluted or contaminated sites.

Constructed 32 LEED** -certified buildings.

Conserved 2.7 million hectares of land.

Diverted 82,169 metric tons of waste from landfills.

  • 2.8 million people benefitted from clean water and wastewater projects.
  • Delivered 34 million gallons per day of water.

Treated 27 million gallons per day of wastewater.

Saved 4.3 billion gallons of water.

Company Spotlight: Residential Solar Energy

WHAT: Sunrun (NASDAQ: RUN) is a United States based provider of residential solar electricity that helps homeowners install, monitor, and maintain solar panels to supply solar electricity. Through its social purpose funds, Portico has been one of many investors in a Sunrun green bond.

WHY: Sunrun is driven by its enduring vision: to create a planet run by the sun. Its mission is to increase the accessibility of solar energy and provide homeowners with clean, affordable solar energy and storage via a best-in-class customer experience. Sunrun installs solar energy systems on customers’ homes and then sells them the solar power produced by those systems for a 20-year initial term.

IMPACT: Year 1 production of the Solar Asset portfolio is expected to be 279.5mm kilowatt hours (kwh). According to the EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Equivalencies Calculator, this will generate enough electricity for roughly 34,469 average homes while displacing approximately 217,879 tons annually of CO2 equivalents, equal to taking 41,965 cars off the road each year.

What is a green bond?

A green bond is like a regular bond with one key difference — the money raised by the issuer is earmarked to finance environment-friendly assets and business activities. Nuveen green bonds are designed to deliver solid returns to members while reducing greenhouse gas emissions and preserving natural resources.

This is Portico’s third Nuveen green bond impact report since investing $25 million in this strategy in 2017. The time lag between creating impact and reporting it is not unusual. Socially responsible investors seek measurable evidence of impact, and companies follow disciplined processes to capture this information, validate it, and report it back to investors.

What is social impact first (SIF) investing?

To help achieve measurable social impact, 14 of Portico’s 15 social purpose funds employ a form of positive social investing called social impact first (SIF) on up to 10% of fund assets (excluding the Portico Stock Index Social Purpose Fund). SIF investments accept a somewhat lower projected return and/or somewhat higher projected risk on up to 10% of the fund’s investments in order to invest in companies and organizations that support initiatives like affordable housing, reduced greenhouse emissions, and renewable energy.

“It’s been a Portico objective since 2015 to carefully and steadily increase the number of SIF investments made through our social purpose funds,” Ripperger said. “We make these investments to create solid financial returns for member investors and positive social outcomes important to member investors and the ELCA.”

For more information about all funds managed by Portico Benefit Services, please see the Investment Fund Descriptions for your retirement plan.

* The ELCA social purpose balanced funds were replaced by Portico social purpose target date funds (TDFs) in October 2020. Because these target date funds were created from Portico’s existing investment pools, all social purpose TDF investors remain participants in this Nuveen green bond investment.

** Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) is an internationally recognized green building certification system.

Information regarding Portico funds should not be considered as advice or as a recommendation to hold, purchase, or sell those financial products and does not take into account your particular investment objectives, financial situation, or needs. For more information about all funds managed by Portico Benefit Services, please see the Investment Fund Descriptions for your retirement plan on the Fund Options & Performance page of myPortico and speak with your tax, legal, or financial professional.

Members should carefully consider the target asset allocations, investment objectives, risks, charges, and expenses of any fund before investing in it. All funds, including the Portico funds, are subject to risk and uncertainty. Past performance is no guarantee of future performance. Funds managed by Portico Benefit Services, including the Portico funds and ELCA Participating Annuity Investment Fund, are not insured or guaranteed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, any other government agency, or the ELCA. Fund assets are invested in multiple sectors of the market. Sectors, like funds, may perform below expectations and lose money over short or extended periods. Review the Portico Investment Fund Descriptions and the Investment Memorandum for the ELCA Participating Annuity Trust for more information about the Portico funds.

Target date funds are designed for members expecting to retire around the year indicated in each fund’s name. When choosing a fund, members should consider whether they anticipate retiring significantly earlier or later than age 65, and select the target date fund that aligns with their expected retirement age. There are many considerations relevant to fund selection; members should choose the fund that best meets their individual circumstances and investment goals. Each fund’s asset allocation strategy becomes increasingly more conservative as it approaches the target date and beyond. Each fund’s investment risk changes over time as its asset allocation changes. The investment process used by the investment managers and the target asset allocation of the funds may change at any time, without notice.

Neither Portico Benefit Services nor the funds it manages are subject to registration, regulation, or reporting under the Investment Company Act of 1940, the Securities Act of 1933, the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, the Investment Advisors Act of 1940, or state securities laws. Members, therefore, will not be afforded the protections of those laws and related regulations.