Going Green Isn’t Just for St. Patrick’s Day
On March 17, St. Patrick’s Day, the Irish spirit is in full force as folks put on their favorite green shirt and the Guinness is plentiful. St. Patrick’s Day originated in Ireland, but that doesn’t stop Americans from participating in the Irish celebrations. While “going green” is a requirement on St. Patrick’s Day for fear of getting pinched otherwise, Americans have been trending green in other ways for years now.
Below are a few more reasons to celebrate:
Just looking at the chart below you can see how “green” the air is in North America. In this study the World Health Organization illustrates the globe’s air quality by measuring the amount of fine particulate matter (PM 2.5) in the air. Americans can breathe a sigh of relief knowing aggregate emissions (of the six most common pollutants) have trended lower since the first Earth Day in 1970, according to the EPA.
There’s a growing demand from investors who want to integrate their social and environmental concerns and beliefs into their investment decisions. This idea of “responsible” investing generally is divided into three categories – Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG), Socially Responsible Investing (SRI), and Impact Investing. While often used interchangeably, there are differences to each strategy.
Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG)
ESG refers to the process of evaluating investments based on their environmental, social, and governance practices, which are believed to have a positive impact on long-term performance. By including ESG factors into their analysis, investors are able to identify potential risk and opportunities outside of traditional valuation measures. While there is a socially conscious element to ESG, the main focus remains on financial performance.
Socially Responsible Investing
SRI goes one step beyond ESG by actively eliminating investments that investors dislike for ethical or value-based reasons. These guidelines can be established by one’s religion, personal values, or political beliefs. Unlike ESG, which uses the analysis just for valuation purposes, SRI uses ESG factors to screen investments and eliminate certain exposure. For instance, one may choose to invest in an SRI mutual fund that avoids any investment in tobacco companies. SRI typically tries to balance the objective of maximizing returns with positive social outcomes.
Impact investing is a subset of SRI, but instead of focusing on avoiding harm, impact investing actively seeks to invest in companies and organizations that generate beneficial social and environmental outcomes, such as, investing in a company that research and develops components used in solar panels. Impact investing aims to harness the power of investing to do good for society by choosing investments that have a positive impact. While financial return is still important, it is usually viewed as a secondary objective.
How We Can Help
Our specialty is building customized investment portfolio solutions for our clients. This does not stop at taking your risk tolerance, goals, and objectives into account. We want our clients to be comfortable with their investments and their potential impact. If you have questions on how you can make your portfolio more socially conscious to align with your personal social and environmental views, please contact us.