Two leading U.S. sustainable business groups merge

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FILE PHOTO: Ben & Jerry's shop in London

BOSTON – Two leading U.S. sustainable-business groups on Wednesday said they have merged to improve services and advocacy and to help members find better investment opportunities.

Interest in so-called “responsible investing” has soared as individuals and institutions pour money into funds that use environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors to select holdings.

The combined group will be known as the American Sustainable Business Network, leaders said, bringing together what had been the American Sustainable Business Council and the Social Venture Circle.

Well-known members of the former include outdoor clothing maker Patagonia Inc and utility Green Mountain Power; members of the latter include the Ben & Jerry’s unit of Unilever PLC and ESG investor Trillium Asset Management.

All four will now be members of the new network. In all it will include 800 member companies, 110 groups and associations such as the National Center for Employee Ownership and a combined staff of 20 employees, said spokesman Michael Neuwirth.

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(Reporting by Ross Kerber; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)