Watch the winners of the ESG & Impact Film Festival!

As a member of the advisory board for the InvestmentNews ESG & Impact Forum, I helped to judge the film festival. I’m proud to present the films we selected below.

The Bee Rescuer This film won the Judges Choice award!
Directed by: Bidit Roy. Amit Godse, otherwise known as The Bee Man, founded a social enterprise, Bee Basket, which rescues bee colonies from urban areas.

I have a personal connection to this one. My family keeps bees in partnership with friends who live in Lancaster County, PA. We’ve lost a number of Bee Hives over the years for various reasons, and bee conservation is a subject near and dear to my heart.

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The Story of TRU Colors This film won the Audience’s Choice award!
Directed by: Meagen Verdi & Akeem Grady. How one company is driving change in Wilmington, NC by hiring a workforce composed of only active gang members.

After this film was shown, we had the privilege of hearing from the filmmakers and one of the gang members in this film. It was one of the most powerful experiences I’ve had, and it reinforced to me the impact that investments can make. The Audience Choice award was well deserved!

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POKO’S STORY
Directed by: Michael Schmidt-Olsen. Poko, a farmer in northern Ghana, learns new farming techniques to combat the devastating droughts and brushfires caused by climate change that are ravaging the region.

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Lever
Directed by: Stephen Lamb. ESG investing strategies are a way to align values with investments, but don’t necessarily effect change. A look inside the powerful force of shareholder activism.

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One Island
Directed by: Mitra K. Bolouri Rasmussen. A look inside a small Danish island that is run 100% with renewable energy.

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Cesar’s Workshop
Directed by: Robin Pogorzelski. An army veteran from Rwanda who lost his leg to the civil war now makes his living by serving others.

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Leafy Greens
Directed by: Stephen Lamb. An exploration of impact enterprise. Can businesses succeed with the dual motives of profit and purpose?

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Grow Your House
Directed by: Andrés Klimek & Sergio Donis. This film shows how bamboo can be used to construct houses in a low-cost and dignified way for people living in poverty.

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Igniting Impact Trailer
Directed by: Akira Chan. Igniting Impact is a short documentary featuring entrepreneurs who are creating impact by aligning with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

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InvestmentNews also has these videos on their website, with more information about the event.

Hear from Common Interests in the news

As part of the InvestmentNews ESG & Impact Forum, Max was selected as one of 3 advisors who were asked to share some advice with other Financial Advisors who are considering using ESG Analysis in their practices. Hear from Max and his colleagues here:


You can view this on the InvestmentNews website here.


You can view this on the InvestmentNews website here.

We’ll have more on this event in the coming days. Check back soon!

Max will be speaking at the United Nations on December 5!

I’m very pleased to announce that my partner Max will be speaking at the inaugural InvestmentNews ESG & Impact Forum on Dec. 5 at the United Nations.

While we specialize in Sustainable, Responsible and Impact investing for our clients, we also believe that we have a responsibility to educate and help other advisors adopt these techniques. That’s why Max has agreed to be on the advisory board for this event and give his time to speak. The panel he’s on will be moderated by Jon Hale of Morningstar (read his blog here), and will feature Colleen Denzler of Smith Capital Investors and Marguerita Cheng, the CEO of Blue Ocean Global Wealth.

Here’s what they will discuss:

As the demand for impact investment opportunities continues to grow, so does the increased responsibility on advisers to develop stronger investor education programs, increase transparency and adopt more precisely-defined metrics for measuring impact. ESG and impact investors, primarily motivated by moving the needle on specific environmental, social and governance issues, while also pursuing financial returns are increasingly flexing their purchasing power with advisers. It’s important therefore for investment advisers to understand that each client has views that are unique and diverse, requiring flexibility and customization to support each client’s goals. This panel will explore best in practice communication strategies for a more meaningful and effective client engagement experience.

As you can see, this conference is focused on Financial Advisors and other financial professionals. Click Here to register. And when you use code ESGFRIEND you can get a $50 discount. Please feel free to share this using the links below if you know anyone who would be interested in attending, and use the hashtag #INimpact so InvestmentNews knows you’re coming!

Record 515 institutional investors managing $35 trillion in assets urge governments to step up ambition to tackle climate change

Ahead of next week’s United Nations Climate Action Summit, a record 515 institutional investors managing $35 trillion in assets urged governments worldwide to step up action to tackle climate change and achieve the Paris Agreement’s goals.

The Global Investor Statement to Governments on Climate Change, developed by the seven Founding Partners of The Investor Agenda, calls on governments to phase out thermal coal power worldwide, put a meaningful price on carbon pollution, end government subsidies for fossil fuels, and update and strengthen nationally-determined contributions to meet the emissions reduction
goal of the Paris Agreement no later than 2020.

“The global shift to clean energy is underway, but much more needs to be done by governments to accelerate the low carbon transition and to improve the resilience of our economy, society and
the financial system to climate risks,” the investors wrote. They warned the current government commitments leave an “ambition gap” that will not prevent global average temperature from rising
beyond the 1.5 degree threshold that scientists warn could trigger catastrophic and irreversible effects of climate change.

The investors’ call to action published today comes as UN Secretary-General António Guterres is asking all leaders, from governments and the private sector, to present plans – at the UN Climate Action Summit on September 23 or at the latest by December 2020 – to cut greenhouse gas emissions 45% by 2030 and reach carbon neutrality by 2050. “I am also asking all investors to scale up green ventures, to increase lending for low-carbon solutions and to stop, in effect, financing pollution,” Secretary-General António Guterres said at a preparatory meeting for the
Summit.

Signing the Global Investor Statement to Governments on Climate Change is an action item in the Policy Advocacy focus area of the The Investor Agenda. Launched in September 2018 by seven Founding Partners — Asia Investor Group on Climate Change, CDP, Ceres, Investor Group on Climate Change, Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change, Principles for Responsible Investment and UNEP Finance Initiative — The Investor Agenda is a collaborative initiative that aims to accelerate and scale up the investor actions worldwide that are critical to tackling climate change and achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement with the aim of keeping global average temperature rise to no more than 1.5-degrees Celsius. It provides investors with a set of actions
that they can take in four key focus areas: Investment, Corporate Engagement, Investor Disclosure and Policy Advocacy.

The Founding Partners also announced today the release of The Investor Agenda Annual Progress Report, which found that nearly 1,200 investors have taken action in one or more of the focus areas of The Investor Agenda. More than 750 investors have engaged with or directly influenced portfolio companies to act on climate change, more than 400 investors have stepped up their own disclosure on climate change, and more than 260 have set a climate target.

“Investors are stepping up their response to climate change and increasingly aligning their investment with the goals of the Paris Agreement,” said Rebecca Mikula-Wright, Director, Asia Investor Group on Climate Change (AIGCC). “The Investor Agenda has a pivotal role to play as a platform for supporting investors to lead ambition and catalyse sustainable investment, whilepromoting engagement across all regions and jurisdictions.”

“The Investor Agenda provides an unprecedented global forum for investors to accelerate action on climate change and drive transformation of capital markets to deliver a 1.5-degrees Celsius economy. To do that investors need to take further action themselves, but also require stronger incentives from governments” said Paul Simpson, CDP CEO.

“The global reach and potential impact of The Investor Agenda and the global collaboration of the seven organizations are quite extraordinary,” noted Mindy Lubber, Ceres CEO and President. “With the immense power and influence that investors hold in our global economy, they have a tremendous opportunity and responsibility to act at the urgent pace and scale required to keep average global temperature rise to no more than 1.5-degrees Celsius.”

“By working with our peers globally and across the regions, we can scale up ambition and action to tackle climate change and deliver on the promise of the Paris Agreement,” said Emma Herd, Chief Executive Officer, Investor Group on Climate Change (IGCC). “Collaboration is the key to success, and investors must play our part. The Investor Agenda is the platform we need to drive real investor action at this crucial point in time.”
Climate change poses an unprecedented threat to the global economy,” said Stephanie Pfeifer, CEO of the Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change (IIGCC). “Investors representing nearly half the world’s invested capital are sending a clear message that they need to see far greater ambition from governments in addressing the climate crisis. A considerable number of countries have already committed to delivering net zero emission economies by 2050. Investors are asking that others now follow their lead.”

“The Investor Agenda has a critical role to play in compelling investors to act and bring about lasting change around climate,” said Fiona Reynolds, CEO of Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI). “Ambition and meaningful action from governments, business and the financial sector is imperative to curb the current trajectory of global warming. These groups must act now to curb the climate emergency the world is facing by reaching the goals of the Paris Agreement to realise 1.5-degrees Celsius.”

“There is a growing urgency for investors and corporations to act on climate change goals. As of today, temperatures have risen 1-degree Celsius above pre-industrial levels,” said Eric Usher, Head of UNEP Finance Initiative. “To keep the rise to within 1.5-degrees Celsius globally, leadership from within the investor community will be key. The Investor Agenda is one critical platform in supporting investors in their individual actions.”


About The Investor Agenda
The Investor Agenda is a collaborative initiative to accelerate and scale up the investor actions that are critical to tackling climate change and achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement with the aim of keeping average global temperature rise to no more than 1.5-degrees Celsius. It provides investors with a set of actions that they can take in four key focus areas: Investment, Corporate Engagement, Investor Disclosure and Policy Advocacy. It has been developed by seven Founding Partners: Asia Investor Group on Climate Change, CDP, Ceres, Investor Group on Climate Change, Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change, Principles for Responsible Investment and UNEP Finance Initiative. Visit www.TheInvestorAgenda.org for more information.

Listen to Bob Goellner on the Changing The Rules Podcast!

Bob was interviewed by an old friend on a new podcast, Changing the Rules, which was started with the understanding that “stress caused by changing life situations can be reduced if you have a plan.” Bob tells the story of how and why Common Interests was founded, how and why he picked our name, and the values our firm was founded on. The interview covers how we work with our clients, the type of work we do, and how we think about Financial Planning (among many other topics).

Bob’s interview starts at 11:17 in! Give it a listen below, or on Apple Podcasts.

And check out the rest of the Changing The Rules Podcast here. 

InvestmentNews Impact Forum

We are excited to announce our collaboration with the United Nations and InvesmentNews to host the first Impact Forum on December 4-5, 2019 in New York City.

The vision for this event is huge. On Day One: A film festival will share the stories and stoke the inspiration. The next day, thought-leaders and experts will share strategies and insight for turning inspiration into impact investing action. We hope you will join us!

This event started with a film: Impact, a documentary. This film is the model, where we show the impact our investment dollars can have on the world. Now we want to take this global and highlight a story for each of the Sustainable Development Goals. Everyone we’ve shown the first film to has had a personal connection to the stories, and through this project we hope to show how, no matter which goal is most important to you, your investments can make a difference.

I’m proud to serve on the advisory board for this event! We have assembled a team of specialists in Impact Investing to build a world class event, but we need your help.

To pull this off, we need a community of ambassadors who want to help the financial advice industry make good investments that also make the world a better place.

Here’s how you can help:

We are looking for filmmakers, stories, attendees, sponsors, speakers and advocates. Fill out this short form if you would like to be involved with the event. Our partners at ImpactAssets (our high-impact Donor Advised Fund) are also helping us organize film ideas. They’ve created this form to accept submissions.

Highlights from the ANJEE Conference

I serve as the Treasurer of the Alliance for NJ Environmental Education, which recently completed its’ annual winter conference. Here are some highlights, which speak to the reasons I’m involved with this fantastic organization. This year’s keynote speakers were students from around the state who inspired us with their passion for Environmental and Social justice. Enjoy (and see if you can spot Bob’s very brief cameo)!

Safer Internet Day 2019

Safer Internet Day was this week, and we like to use events like this to highlight our commitment to protecting our clients’ accounts and keeping data secure.

This year, we wanted to highlight a few of the tools we employ to help protect ourselves in the wilderness that is the internet. This post won’t cover antivirus software, but we’ll be looking at the free tools we use to help prevent tracking and reduce (not eliminate) your vulnerability online.

  • The first line of defense is an adblocker. These tools are designed to prevent you from seeing advertising online. We HIGHLY recommend that all of our clients and friends install one and keep it up to date. Our preferred adblocker is Ublock origin, which is available for Chrome here, and Firefox here.

  • After this, we like to look at a pair of tools from the Electronic Frontier Foundation. This group is one of the strongest advocates for privacy and an open internet, and we support their work whenever possible. The first tool we recommend, especially for laptops or other computers that you travel with, is called HTTPS Everywhere (you can install it from that page). This tool helps force your connection to a website over a more secure connection, which can help protect your data and especially any login credentials that you use. It’s not perfect, but it’s better than nothing.

  • The second tool by the EFF is called Privacy Badger. This tool blocks invisible trackers, including the ones that the big tech companies use to track you across the internet. Privacy comes at a price however, as you’ll quickly learn just how much the web relies on these tools – this one WILL break certain websites.
  • Finally, we recommend a VPN, especially when travelling, and ESPECIALLY when travelling internationally. A VPN (or Virtual Private Network) is a tool that allows you to create a secure connection to another server before going out on the wider internet. We recommend using a tool like this whenever you’re connected to a WiFi network you don’t control, as they will prevent the owner of the WiFi network from snooping on your connection. Of course, this merely shifts who you trust from the person running your local WiFi hotspot to the VPN provider you’ve chosen to work with. We recommend doing due diligence on any VPN provider you choose to work with. We’re not going to disclose the firm we’ve chosen for security reasons, but we will be more than happy to recommend a few if you contact us.