Joan Bavaria and Multi-Dimensional Capitalism
The case examines the career of Joan Bavaria, a pioneer of Socially Responsible Investing,and founder of Trillium Asset Management and Ceres, the non-profit organization advocating for sustainability leadership. It describes her personal journey from art student and college drop out to financier and campaigner for corporate sustainability. Trillium grew out of Bavaria's initial work in Boston-based Franklin Research and Development Corporation, and became an independent entity in 1982. Bavaria argued that investment houses could use their funds to promote corporate social responsibility, and that such investments could be profitable. This was considered extremely unorthodox in the industry at the time. In the wake of the giant oil spill from the tanker Exxon Valdez in Alaska in 1989, Bavaria launced the Ceres Principles aimed to generate standardized corporate reporting on enviromental performance. Ceres grew as an organization and launched the Global Reporting Initiative in 1997. The case provides an opportunity to explore the opportunities and challenges of both SRI and corporate environmental reporting.