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ASBC-SVC Puts Values First vs. Barclays Prison Deal    

On April 15, ASBC-SVC announced they were terminating Barclays membership and refunding its dues, based on the bank’s involvement in an Alabama prison financing deal. Business leaders and investors rallied in our support, urging Barclays, which led the financing, to drop the deal. A group of impact investors, business leaders, and social justice advocates also urged global investors to refuse to purchase the $630-million taxable municipal bond offering by the Alabama Department of Corrections through the Wisconsin Public Finance Authority. On April 19, Barclays announced it was pulling out of the deal.  

“We are glad Barclays bank has decided not to underwrite the investment bond to fund the private prison-industrial complex in Alabama,” said ASBC Board Chair MaryAnne Howland, founder and CEO of Ibis Communications.  

The ASBC and SVC community invests in solutions to end mass incarceration, not perpetuate it. Injustice is not sustainable. It takes conscious capitalism to ensure that return on investment is reparative, which is what our BIPOC communities require today. Barclays conscious decision renews our confidence in our community values.”  

“In standing with activists, business leaders and investors vehemently opposed to developing and building these prisons in Alabama,” explained SVC Interim Executive Director Isaac Graves, “we decided to immediately return $15,000 in sponsorship and membership dues paid by Barclays and terminate their corporate membership.”  

Said ASBC President/Co-founder David Levine, “We applaud Barclays decision not to underwrite Alabama private prison bonds. ASBC and SVC refuse to perpetuate mass incarceration, systemic racism, and human rights abuses through the offering and purchase of taxable municipal bonds.”   

Members also voiced their views. One contrasted the modest overall prison population increase of just 3% versus the massive 32% increase in private prisons’ populations over the past two decades, a result of profit opportunities in more incarcerations, disproportionately of BIPOC Americans. Others summarized, “the days of empty corporate platitudes are over” and “ASBC and SVC are walking the walk.”

Click to Tweet: Profit-making prisons are bad deals for America: For resilient ROI, let’s invest in community opportunities instead. 


What's New

Support Policing Justice Now! 

On April 14, ASBC stated in part, “The April 11 killing of 20-year-old Daunte Wright in Brooklyn City, Minnesota shows once again our current policing systems are rooted in systemic racism. The murders of Black and Brown Americans including George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and so many others are intolerable.”  

ASBC has been mobilizing business support for law enforcement that is equitable and community-oriented -- not dangerously distorted by systemic racism. Your business voice can help make this transformation.  

While the guilty-on-all-counts verdict in the murder trial of Derek Chauvin indicates fairness is possible, ASBC insists that fairness should be baseline predictable -- starting in the street. As our April 20 statement on the verdict said, “This should be a beginning, not an end. Holding police accountable should not be a singular event. Achieving justice must not be a special occasion. We must take the next step to assuring, as Mr. Floyd’s daughter stated, that he truly ‘changed the world.’” 

Business leaders: Demand Congress pass H.R 1280 George Floyd Justice in Policing Act of 2021 and S. 492 Ending Qualified Immunity Act now! Sign our letter to tell Congress to promptly pass sensible policies that will make police departments more accountable by using body cameras, incentivizing the ban on choke holds and carotid holds, and prohibiting no-knock warrants in drug cases. 

 “Our country is in desperate need of healing,” said ASBC Board President MaryAnne Howland, Ibis Communications. https://www.asbcouncil.org/media-release/asbc-calls-congressional-passage-police-reform-bills-following-murder-daunte-wright. BIOPOC Americans already suffer disproportionate levels of risk and harm to their health and economic security; levels that have worsened in the current pandemic. In striving to heal from the pandemic’s devastation, our country must decisively end abusive treatment by law enforcement at every level of government.  

Business leaders understand that justice benefits all of us. A resilient economy depends on a stable society – and in a democratic system, that stability depends on fair, equitable, accountable use of policing powers. Justice in policing is the foundation for an American system that truly works for all. Tell Congress to get this done


Policy Conference, USA Today Ad Propel Our Mission     

ASBC-SVC celebrated Earth Day all week with our energizing Spring Conference, public program on Climate Justice, and our full-page ad in a special sustainability supplement of the national newspaper USA Today

ASBC has led business community awareness of the connection between the nation’s justice and climate crises, and Building a Just and Sustainable Future,” ASBC-SVC’s virtual Spring Conference, April 19-21, debriefed a range of experts on the subject. Already engaged on these fronts, our members explored “How to Drive Justice and Climate Action through Public Policy” as part of the Spring Conference. A special session for the public, “Centering Climate Justice in Climate Action,” was held on Earth Day, April 22.  

Our conference brought vital focus to the profound damage caused by the systemic lack of economic and environmental justice. A diverse array of accomplished presenters shared innovative strategies and inspiration to help leaders of established and entrepreneurial businesses, impact investors, policymakers, and capacity-builders develop the next economy -- one that works for all.  

ASBC’s full-page advertisement in the national newspaper USA TODAY gave our mission further high-profile exposure. In its Sustainability issue this April, we outlined our unique link between successful business and sustainable values -- and how we advance both with smart public policy. Explore this inspiring issue (click the arrows to advance), 2021 USA TODAY Sustainability, and be sure to check out our ad, page 80. Download and share it, too!  


Inclusive Economic Growth Needs a White House Initiative 

It is becoming clear that the scope and scale of work required to create systemic change in the U.S. will require coordination of federal policies that will reshape and rebuild our economy so that it works for all Americans. To advance this goal, ASBC has co-founded the White House Initiative on Inclusive Economic Growth. This new, broad-based coalition of nearly 50 organizations focuses on stakeholder capitalism, corporate social and environmental responsibility, sustainable finance, community development finance, and capital markets’ structural reform. The coalition includes business leaders, community organizations, elected officials, and many others. Please join us to call for the creation of a White House Initiative on Inclusive Economic Growth  

ASBC was founded more than 10 years ago at the start of the Obama Administration to be the voice of businesses advocating for systemic change and to co-create initiatives to make it a reality. Together, we can solve the pervasive, systemic challenges of climate and energy, infrastructure, fostering a circular economy, and creating an inclusive stakeholder economy, consistently viewed through the lens of racial equality and justice. With the current progressive leadership in Washington, D.C. and many legislatures across the country, this is the right moment for a White House Initiative on Inclusive Economic Growth. We must act now to change the rules by which business is done and foster resilient wellbeing in all people, our environment, and the responsible businesses that support them.

Click to tweet: Business will benefit from bold, coordinated action to reboot our economy, close the racial wealth gap and slow climate change. Join @ASBCouncil and scores of other solutions-minded organizations to call for a White House Initiative on Inclusive Economic Growth!   

ASBC Endorses the Climate Stewardship Act  

ASBC applauds the introduction by U.S. Senator Booker (D-NJ) and Representative Spanberger (D-VA) of the Climate Stewardship Act. This Act would significantly boost funding for U.S. Department of Agriculture programs that help farmers adopt conservation practices, including sequestering carbon in soil, to fight climate change.   

ASBC Policy Manager Colton Fagundes observed that, “Many agriculture-related businesses want to adopt regenerative methods to diversify products, build more resilient supply chains, and meet growing consumer demand for sustainably produced products. Without assistance, the transition can be difficult, but the Climate Stewardship Act will help with that transition."

“Businesses leaders have been calling for the federal government to support transition of our agricultural investment towards regenerative agriculture,” said ASBC President and Co-founder David Levine. “We applaud Senator Booker and Representative Spanberger for reintroducing the Climate Stewardship Act as a giant step in that direction. The Act will not only help combat climate change but will also improve farmers’ incomes and resilience, improve farmworkers’ conditions, and help meet market demands which will grow our economy.”   

Click to tweet: Tell Congress to help America’s hardworking farmers strengthen their businesses—and our environment. Pass the Climate Stewardship Act.


Working Group Updates

ASBC’s Climate & Energy Working Group: For an ASBC-SVC Spring Conference session, we convened a group of climate and energy experts and advocates who discussed the power of regenerative agriculture to remedy the climate crisis. While food production is one of the main drivers of climate change, it can also be leveraged to offset emissions. Panelists stated the importance of involving indigenous communities, as they already have established expertise in using regenerative farming methods. Panelists noted that, rather than relying largely on outside technology solutions, meaningful dialogue with indigenous leaders and BIPOC communities should be used to center communities in the effort and create collaborative climate solutions for all stakeholders. Panelists in this session also discussed the work of major brands and corporations in reaching sustainability goals. A key value for large corporations’ efforts to become carbon-neutral and sustainable must be transparency that keeps them accountable and discourages greenwashing. 

ASBC’s Regenerative Agriculture and Justice Working Group: The group met at the beginning of April to finalize our response to the USDA's request for comment on addressing the climate crisis (sign-on here). We met again during ASBC-SVC's Spring Conference for a discussion led by panelists Rachelle Dixon (Collective Equity), Jessica Hulse Dillon (Green America), and Bethany Davis (MegaFood). The conversation covered the intersection of climate, justice, agriculture, and land access.

ASBC’s Race & Equity Working Group: The recent meeting featured Sada Geuss (Trillium Asset Management), Mark Watson (Pot Likker Capital), Damien Goodmon (Downtown Crenshaw Rising), Konda Mason (Jubilee Justice) and Dave Rappaport (Ben & Jerry’s). Sada and Mark discussed “appropriate capital return” and the antiquated nature of the Capital Asset Pricing Model. Damien talked about his role and experience with Downtown Crenshaw Rising and the remarkable impact of social impact investment and philanthropy on the movement. Konda outlined her work with Lotus Foods around supporting black famers, and Dave spotlighted Ben and Jerry’s hiring practices and work devoted to Race and Equity. 

Infrastructure Working Group: As a convener of the infrastructure working group at Nexus, ASBC has led conversations with former International Monetary Fund (IMF) economist Alphecca Muttardy and other well-known policy experts in this field. At our most recent meeting, we hosted a conversation with Cornell University’s Professor of Law Saule T. Omarova about the proposed National Investment Agency (NIA), a new federal agency that would allocate investments in infrastructure projects. During this session, participants had the opportunity to ask relevant questions about anticipated operative, legislative, and economic repercussions of the NIA.  

Circular Economy Working Group: At ASBC’s Spring Conference, this working group conducted a breakout panel discussion on a thorny aspect of the circular economy, Extended Producer Responsibility. Panelists included experts Maureen Kline (Pirelli), Suzanne Vetillart (Boma Jewelry), Yinka Bode George (NCEL), Heidi Sanborn (NSAC), Neil Seldman, (ILSR), and Rhodes Yepsen (BPI). Two key takeaways from this session were that responsibility and cost for recycling must be shared with producers, not just local and state governments – and that serious investment in recycling and compositing infrastructure is essential to implement a circular economy model.  

Look for the latest information from ASBC Working Groups on our website and in upcoming issues of Policy Update

Always Open: Problem-Solving Resources  

You can count on ASBC sending you timely action tips on legislative issues affecting your business, but we also offer busy leaders a wealth of in-depth guidance you can access any time on our website. Want the details on how famous companies of all sizes provide a high-road workplace – and how it boosts their business? Need to make a big media impression (or lots of them) with your firm’s sustainability news? Want to persuade your market why safer, greener products matter? Need to make your responsible business case for better laws to your elected officials at local, state and national levels? ASBC’s online library of resources can help with these and more. Check out the Research & Data and Policy & Action sections on the ASBC website and contact us with your questions or suggestions.  

Media, Blogs & More


Welcome New Members

Please note: For details about membership levels, benefits and more, visit https://www.asbcouncil.org/membership

Avocado Green Brands (Business – Leadership) 
Avocado Green Brands, a certified B-Corp, practices “radical transparency” and a “farm-to-bedroom” approach. It sources and processes raw materials from its co-owned latex farm, factory, and wool collective in India and handcrafts its mattresses in its own Los Angeles factory. The firm’s materials, factory, and finished products are GOTS/GOLS organic-certified. Its mattresses are also GREENGUARD Gold-certified for low emissions, MADE SAFE®- certified, and have achieved STANDARD 100 by OEKO-TEX® for human and ecological safety. As a Climate Neutral®-Certified business, Avocado has achieved net-negative carbon emissions across its entire business scope. A long-standing member of 1% for the Planet and recipient of its inaugural Pinnacle Award, Avocado Green Brands donates one percent of all revenue annually to environmental nonprofits. 

MegaFood (Business - Corporate) 
MegaFood is a certified B-Corp that crafts premium supplements with real food from trusted farm partners plus added nutrients, because it believes human bodies recognize real food. Its supplements support both the body and a more sustainable future: By partnering with trusted farmers who share its commitment to organic and regenerative agriculture, MegaFood gives people the nutrients they need while replenishing the soil with the nutrients it needs. 

Torrey Project (Business – Impact) 
Torrey Project is a global catalyst for companies that create long-term shareholder wealth while acting as transformative forces for good in the world. Led by a diverse group of seasoned global business leaders, the San Diego, CA-based firm helps create, capitalize and energize businesses to accelerate the transition from conventional, investor-focused capitalism to conscious, inclusive, multi-stakeholder capitalism. Torrey Project installs a Multi-stakeholder Operating System (MsOS) in the companies it serves through training, coaching, mentorship, and investment.  

CNote (Business - Core) 
CNote, a certified B-Corp, is a women-led impact investment platform that uses technology to unlock diversified and proven community investments that increase economic mobility and financial inclusion. CNote helps institutions invest capital into underserved communities at scale. Its deposit and impact investment programs create jobs, fund BIPOC-owned small businesses and support affordable housing development. It partners with federally-certified community lenders (CDFIs) that have decades of experience investing locally. CNote technology empowers institutions to align their deposits and investments with causes they value, including economic and racial justice. 

2050 and Beyond (Business – Community) 
2050 and Beyond is a convenient directory exclusively listing sustainable businesses. The directory will be available online later this year.  

Member & Staff News

  • Closed Loop Partners 

    Closed Loop Partners Founder/CEO and author Ron Gonen is pleased to share his book, THE WASTE FREE WORLD: How the Circular Economy Will Take Less, Make More, and Save the Planet, published by Penguin Random House. The book, which has already earned favorable reviews from an array of high-profile business leaders, policymakers and influencers, reveals the history of wasteful consumption which has cheated us out of taxpayer money, lucrative innovation, and a habitable planet. The Waste-Free World also makes a powerful, forward-looking case for a circular economy in which production, distribution, consumption, and reuse of products and materials both heals the planet and creates enormous economic opportunity.   

  • EarthKind 

    Earth Kind Founder/CEO and author Kari Warberg Block is happy to announce that her first book, Gathering Around the Table: A Story of Purpose-Driven Change through Business, published by Conscious Capitalism, reached the Amazon top 10 bestseller list in Green Business. The book reached this ranking the day it was released, March 24 (designated International Day of Achievers). It explores how young and unconventional entrepreneurs can build a profitable business, transform a category and help create a sustainable new economy that addresses pressing environmental problems through entrepreneurship and planet-friendly innovation. Kari’s goal is to propel purpose-driven entrepreneurs to “gather around the table” and invent new ways to address today’s environmental, social, and economic crises. The book launch was accompanied by a webinar with a panel of top CEOs and authors. 

    EarthKind has also launched a#YearOfTheMonarch campaign, a #HarmonyHero award program for K-12 teachers, and the opportunity to sign up now for EarthKind’s idea-sparking monthly newsletter.  

  • Green2Gold 

    Professor Alan Arthur Tratner, Chair of Green2Gold Environmental Education Group, has issued a news release announcing the Game Changer Clean Tech/Sustainability Semiconductor Industry Venture. Tratner’s work also includes the Small Business Entrepreneurship Center, YIPEE! and SUPERSTEM Education Projects for Youth, 
    Inventors Workshop International & Entrepreneurs Workshop, and California Space Enterprise Center Project, Space Enterprise Campus. For more information, contact him at alan@green2gold.org or 805/735-7261, and visit http://www.green2gold.org 

ASBC Members, Let Us Help You Share Your News! 

Your ASBC membership is a valuable networking opportunity to share your news with other mission-driven companies and supporters nationwide. Please send us your product and service introductions, personnel and facility changes, awards, charitable events and other news in your press releases, blogs, captioned photos and videos. We’ll include them in ASBC’s monthly Policy Update newsletter and social media outlets. 

AND....Show your customers, prospects and vendors your values right upfront:  display the “Proud Member of ASBC” logo on your website and marketing materials.  

ASBC appreciates your support for our work and we’re proud to support you all the way! 

Upcoming Events

NEXT Economy LIVE: Pet Industry Sustainability 
ASBC-SVC Webinar | May 12, 2021 - 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM ET  
From food and toys to litter and waste, the $100-billion pet industry has a significant impact on our environment as well as on the lives of our pets (and devoted pet parents).  Hear from leading sustainable businesses in the pet industry how they have implemented regenerative and responsible business practices, and how industry members can work together to drive lasting, healthy change.  

NEXT Economy LIVE: Forging a Post-COVID Economy with Nature as Our Guide 
SVC-ASBC Webinar | May 19, 2021 – 1:00 PM ET 
To transform today’s societies into ones that are stronger and more just, can our economic system work more like nature, regenerating the systems that power its growth? Learn from innovative, mission-driven experts how biomimicry—the practice of taking inspiration from nature’s designs and processes to solve human problems—can be applied to today’s challenges in finance and investing. Learn the fascinating implications of this perspective on how we define risk and return, account for labor, structure governance, control information, and more. 

Next Economy Webinars 
Webinar | Watch when you want
ASBC and SVC co-sponsor this line-up of thought-provoking discussions and case histories from businesses around the globe on today’s challenging problems, important missions and innovative solutions: building resilience, community investment, finance and social justice, BIPOC access to capital, customer engagement, mentoring, demographics in a digital world, and much more.


American Sustainable Business Council
712 H Street, NE, PMB 42, | Washington, District of Columbia 20002
202-660-1455 | replies@asbcouncil.org

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