In 2015, the Connecticut Conference launched the Eden Fund for congregations that are concerned about environmental impact. The Eden Fund uses an environmentally conscious focus, the Carbon Reserve Free strategy for U.S. Stocks.
The Eden Fund’s strategy for U.S. Stocks* goes beyond Socially Responsible Investing exclusions (alcohol, tobacco, gambling, defense weapons) to use positive Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) criteria to select stocks, and also excludes all stocks in the energy and utility sectors.
Eden Fund participants are divesting from most of the companies holding fossil fuel reserves and marketing fossil fuel products and investing preferentially in companies that have adopted sustainable environmental practices.
In addition, the Eden Fund will be providing support for the United Church of Christ Northeast Environmental Justice Center at Silver Lake.
Diversification is the cornerstone of prudent investing. Carbon Reserve Free investment options for international stocks, all bonds, and other assets have not yet been identified. New CRF investment options will be evaluated as they become available.
We are not aware of any “pure” CRF investment alternative that offers the broad asset class diversification and all of the other benefits – keep reading - of the Eden Fund.
The overall goal of each Consolidated Trust Fund is to maintain the inflation-adjusted market value of assets, while providing a relatively predictable, growing stream of revenue.
The objective, therefore, is to earn a total return (net of all fees and expenses) equal to or exceeding the CTUCC’s targeted spending rate, currently 4.5%, plus the inflation rate - as measured by the CPI.
Investments are diversified across asset classes, industry sectors, individual companies, and duration of fixed income securities.
In order to meet the investment objective, asset allocation is biased towards equities and other asset classes with equity-like returns. Fixed income securities and other asset classes are used to reduce volatility and hedge investment risks.
The Investment Committee is made up of skilled, experienced volunteers who are members of Connecticut Conference churches.
The Investment Committee meets quarterly to review performance, asset allocation, and other matters.
The CTUCC Investment Committee has worked in partnership with U.S. Trust and predecessor companies to manage the portfolio.
U.S. Trust provides sophisticated decision support, due diligence, and other services.
Fiduciary responsibility for the U.S equity portion of the Eden Fund has been delegated to U.S Trust, who is responsible for manager selection and oversight.
If CRF investment options are identified for other asset classes, full delegation of investment management may be adopted for additional asset classes.
There are no fees associated with purchases or redemptions in the fund.
Total expenses of the fund, including management, transaction, custodial fees, and fund accounting fees should be between 60 and 70 basis points (0.60% to 0.70% of invested assets)on an annual basis.
There are always risks associated with investing. The Eden Fund relies on just one domestic equity manager who has a relatively short track record. In comparison, the Total Return Fund includes five different domestic equity managers with longer track records, which provides additional diversification and reduces risk. Furthermore, any CRF strategy places limits on diversification. The Eden Fund is a riskier option.
There is no guarantee that the Eden Fund will perform as well as, or better than, the Total Return Fund.
The Committee does not endorse the adoption of carbon reserve free strategies, as it is a fiduciary principle to avoid unnecessary risk. The Eden Fund is offered as a option for those congregations that believe that moral considerations should also factor into investment decisions.
Congregations can choose whether and how much to invest in the Eden Fund, but continue to have the option of investing in the Total Return Fund.
The Connecticut Conference has allocated $8 million of its unrestricted funds functioning as endowment to the Eden Fund, which represents about a quarter of its invested assets.