CCLA’s Helen Wildsmith Awarded 2020 Joan Bavaria Award for Her Leadership on Sustainability

Mar 25, 2020 2:00 PM ET
Campaign: Ceres Conference

March 25, 2020 /3BL Media/ - Pioneering advocate for responsible investment and climate action Helen Wildsmith has been awarded the prestigious 2020 Joan Bavaria Award for Building Sustainability into the Capital Markets, the sustainability nonprofit organization Ceres and the investment firm Trillium Asset Management, announced today.

The Joan Bavaria Award is given annually to honor inspiring global leaders working to move capital markets toward a system that balances economic prosperity with social and environmental issues. Wildsmith has been recognized for her pivotal role in accelerating and scaling up investor and business action to tackle the climate crisis.

Through her determined leadership as CCLA’s stewardship director focusing on climate change, Wildsmith has been successful in encouraging investee companies to manage climate risks and opportunities and the transition to a net-zero emissions economy. CCLA manages investments for UK charities, religious organizations, and the public sector. Wildsmith has also been instrumental in driving investor and business action to tackle the climate crisis through several international initiatives, from Aiming for A and Climate Action 100+ to The Investor Agenda and the Powering Past Coal Alliance.

“Helen Wildsmith’s ability to leverage her vast range of shareholder and stakeholder relationships has proven invaluable to CCLA and the investor initiatives she contributes to across the globe,” said Mindy Lubber, CEO and President of Ceres. “Her leadership on environmental, social and governance issues is needed now more than ever as we confront not only the climate crisis, but also a global pandemic. We are thrilled to honor her with this award, and look forward to our continued collaborative work to drive change.”

Through the Aiming for A initiative, in particular, which Wildsmith built in 2011 and 2012, she has mobilized asset owners and managers to take stewardship action on climate change, from speaking on the issue at shareholder meetings to declaring their intention to vote for or co-file related resolutions. In 2015 and 2016, her efforts led to the passage of five shareholder resolutions focusing on strategic resilience at the annual meetings of the oil giants BP and Shell, and mining companies Anglo American, Glencore and RioTinto. Aiming for A has prompted significant change at firms, to the extent that even companies that had not been the focus of initiative-backed resolutions have since voluntarily agreed to demonstrate the resilience of their business models.

“We applaud Helen Wildsmith’s actions to galvanize UK and EU responsible and faith-based investors to meaningfully participate in transatlantic partnership and shareholder engagement,” said Matthew Patsky, CEO of Trillium Asset Management. “Her progress in building a bigger tent of active owners pressing for corporate environmental and social responsibility is the essence of Joan Bavaria’s legacy.” 

As the first chair of the resolutions sub-group within Europe’s Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change’s corporate program, Wildsmith has also been a key player in the development of Climate Action 100+, an initiative with 450 investors with USD $40 trillion in assets under management ensuring some of the world’s largest greenhouse gas emitters take action on climate change.  The Investor Agenda, which brings together investors to accelerate and scale up the actions that are critical to tackling climate change, was an idea hatched at one of the annual climate finance retreats that Helen has convened for many years at the Findhorn Foundation in Scotland. The Investor Agenda also highlights the need for a rapid and just phaseout of thermal coal, and Wildsmith has gone on to help the UK and Canadian government’s cross-sector Powering Past Coal Alliance to develop its finance principles.

“It is a deep honor to be the recipient of this year’s Joan Bavaria Award for Building Sustainability into the Capital Markets for my coalition building climate work spanning Aiming for A, Climate Action 100+, The Investor Agenda and the Powering Past Coal Alliance,” said Helen Wildsmith, stewardship director at CCLA. “These difficult times remind us again of the crucial importance of Joan’s spirit of collaboration. Working together across borders to address global collective challenges must characterize the 2020s.”

Joan Bavaria was a pioneer of social investing, using her vision and passion to help catalyze change in the capital markets. She dedicated her life to exploring and developing all means of social investing and to educating and motivating other investors. Among other endeavors, she founded Trillium Asset Management and Ceres; her influence is still reflected by their efforts today.  In 2008, Ceres and Trillium Asset Management created the Joan Bavaria Award in Joan's honor, after she lost her prolonged battle with cancer.

About Ceres

Ceres is a sustainability nonprofit organization working with the most influential investors and companies to build leadership and drive solutions throughout the economy. Through powerful networks and advocacy, Ceres tackles the world’s biggest sustainability challenges, including climate change, water scarcity and pollution, and equitable workplaces. For more information, visit and follow @CeresNews.

About Trillium Asset Management

Founded in 1982, Trillium Asset Management is an investment management firm with over $2 billion in assets under management. Trillium integrates Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) factors into the investment process as a way to seek to identify companies better positioned to deliver strong, long-term performance. Trillium has a long history of managing equity and fixed income portfolios for individuals, foundations, endowments, religious organizations, and other non-profits. For more information, visit

About CCLA

Founded in 1958, CCLA is one of the UK’s largest charity fund managers. CCLA’s purpose is managing investments for charities, religious organisations and the public sector and helping these clients maximise their impact on society by harnessing the power of investment markets. This requires the delivery of trusted, responsibly managed and strongly performing products and services to all organisations, irrespective of their size. For more information, visit