Domini Social Bond Fund Impact (Q4 2015)
The Domini Social Bond Fund seeks to play a positive role in the economic development of communities, focusing on key themes, including affordable housing, education and climate mitigation. In the fourth quarter, securities Domini characterizes as “high impact” represented 15.5% of the Fund’s total portfolio, including the following examples.
The Fund has maintained a long-term commitment to affordable housing, primarily through the purchase of securities backed by pools of mortgages. In particular, we favor Fannie Mae’s DUS bonds backed by a substantial percentage of units or loans to construct or refinance low-income and very low-income family housing. In our judgement, “substantial” means above 50% of units for low income, and above 30% of units for very low-income residents.
The Fund owns a number of bonds focused on providing high quality healthcare to low-income and at-risk populations. One such bond is issued by City of Hope, a nonprofit public benefits corporation operating a specialty hospital and a number of research facilities and medical schools with a focus on cancer, diabetes treatments and HIV/AIDs prevention.
In November, the Fund purchased bonds issued by Southern Power Company to finance existing or planned solar and wind power generation facilities in the U.S. Although this bond raised some controversy – Southern Power’s corporate parent is a large user of coal and owns nuclear power plants - the issuer, Southern Power Company, derives 9GW of its total power output from renewables and gas burning facilities and does not burn coal or deal in nuclear power. Although the parent company is ineligible for our portfolios, we chose to purchase this bond due to the urgent need to finance renewable energy and stabilize the global climate. Our purchase is also a sign of support for other utilities, which are responsible for over 30% of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S., to transition their generation mix to lower-carbon fuel sources.