- How big is sustainable investing? In 2014, according to the U.S. Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment, $6.57 trillion (more than one out of every six dollars) worth of investments were scanned for sustainable criteria, like environmental stewardship, social equity and governance standards. With a growth rate of more than 76% from 2012-2014, the performance of sustainable companies is attracting more and more investors. Just last month, the Secretary of Labor rescinded a 2008 bulletin that discouraged investors from considering environmental and social factors in the companies and funds in which they invest.
- Why invest with sustainable companies? Sustainable investors actively seek out investments like community development loan funds, clean, renewable technology portfolios, fair trade businesses, and those that build neighborhoods and community resilience for poor and underserved communities in the United States and throughout the world.
- Who invests sustainably? Individuals who are investing their savings and retirement plans in mutual funds that specialize in green companies; hospitals and medical schools that refuse to invest in tobacco companies; Public pension plan officials who encourage the companies they invest in to reduce their greenhouse gases and factor climate change into their strategic plans; credit union and community development backs that have the mission to serve low-income communities.
- What can you do to find out if your investments are sustainable? Examine your current holdings and know how your money is being used and by whom. Talk with your financial advisor about their socially responsible mutual fund options. Become familiar with www.socialfunds.com and search the largest “personal finance site devoted to socially responsible investing.” This site has over 10,000 pages on socially responsible mutual funds, community investment, social research, shareowner actions, and daily social investment news. A great learning opportunity!
- Go beyond mutual funds? Invest in your community by participating in a Kickstarter or GoFundMe project; these programs can allow you to work directly with the people benefiting by your investment. You could also invest in your friend’s green business startup or buy individual stocks in companies you care about. Participate more actively in companies that already have some of your investment capital, using your position to advocate for sustainable changes. Activism by shareholders, through attending annual meetings, communicating with management and suggesting changes to company policies can alter the future of the companies. This kind of activism can allow you to interact with your money in a way that’s beyond mere number and can bring more sustainable practices to your world as well.
You have probably heard the term Sustainable Investing, right? It’s also known as Green, Socially Responsible, Community, Values-based, and Impact Investing. All these terms are used to describe investments that are screened for environmental, social and governance criteria to ensure a sustainable future for the company and environment. You know you’re doing your part to reduce your energy, waste and water use. You know you’re buying from companies that work to replenish the environment and do not use slave and/or child labor as well as engage in fair trade practices. But what about your retirement accounts and other investments? Here are a few ways you can determine what your money is doing:
SBS believes in the value of collaboration. Our post come from ideas and issues our team feels passionate about. We offer a combination of topical sustainability issues and applicable tips for every month of the year.