Investments That Align with Values
There are many ways to make your investments have a positive impact on the environment. Here are three:
Sustainable Agriculture Outlook Rooted with Millennials
by Claire Mesesan, communications manager at Iroquois Valley Farms
Few issues capture the complex space that millennials occupy better than food and farming, especially at a time when commodity agriculture is pervasive and regenerative organic agriculture is experiencing a renaissance spurred on by millennials. Much has been written about millennials, a generation that occupies a peculiar place in history: the systems that previous generations created and grew up with, are faltering. Climate change is a reality we must address. In spite of current and future turbulence, millennials remain optimistic in believing that people have the power to effect change. This is abundantly clear in organic agriculture.
Organic agriculture was just agriculture in the pre-World War II period, signified by a lack of chemicals – industrialized agriculture became the way of the future in the post-war period. Our experiments in industrial agriculture led to increased corporate control of the food industry, a decline in the number of farms and farmers, and much less crop diversity. By contrast, organic agriculture operates on a smaller scale, relies on crop diversity, careful water usage, and soil management practices for pest control, therefore prioritizing environmental health. The move to regenerative, organic agriculture is a conscious choice that views growing food as values-based work. And millennials are also leading the change toward a more organic agricultural system, with over 50 percent actively incorporating organic foods in their diet. READ FULL ARTICLE
Sustainable Investing and the Restoration of Community
by Joe Keefe, president and CEO of Pax World Funds and Pax World Management
Given the new political landscape, what lies ahead for sustainable investing? How does the SRI industry continue to move forward?
The new Trump administration clearly will be unfriendly to the sustainability agenda, be it improving corporate disclosure and transparency, curbing greenhouse gas emissions, promoting sustainable energy, advancing women’s rights, or protecting human rights in global supply chains. We will not be able to look to Washington for meaningful progress on most of the issues many of us care about. Instead, we will need to look to the private sector. The fact of the matter is that the private sector is way ahead of the public sector on many of these issues anyway. For example, there is broad agreement in the global business community that we need to confront climate change. Indeed, a large cross-section of global businesses advocated for, not against, the Paris climate accord. They don’t have time for any politicians who are denying science. They have businesses to run, and wealth to create. This is where the opportunity lies over the next four years: working with the progressive vanguard of the business community to advance the sustainability agenda. And for those in the business community who resist the sustainability agenda, we should re-double our shareholder engagement efforts to challenge their views. We can turn this moment of crisis into a moment of opportunity especially as sustainable investing is rapidly going mainstream. READ FULL ARTICLE
Impact Investing in the Age of Fintech and Big Data
by Reggie Stanley, president and CEO of ImpactUs
The term “impact investing” as it relates to private debt and equity is nearly 10 years old, it has been a rarified concept for rank-and-file investors and even many institutions and advisors. Even those committed to integrating ESG and SRI factors into their portfolios have been finding it easier among publicly traded offerings, yet nearly unmanageable when seeking unique thematic, place-based private alternatives. The new impact investing brokerage platform, ImpactUs Marketplace, seeks to make impact investing more accessible to everyone.
There are larger movements at play right now that have many investors, both new and experienced, seeking purpose-driven investments to help create a social or environmental benefit along with a financial return. Investors are looking at environmental solutions, sustainable agriculture, microfinance, healthcare, affordable housing, and specific domestic and international communities as places where their money can make a difference. This is partly motivated by growing populist interests, emerging business solutions and increasing numbers of young people among the ranks of the investor class, who can find and make such investments due to the growing trends in financial technology and social networks to find and make such investments at scale. Women are also becoming a larger share of the investing population and they are more likely to seek investments that align with their values and make a positive impact. READ FULL ARTICLE