Impact with Purpose

How you invest your money makes a difference. This documentary was created to inspire investors to consider impact investing – investments that generate a measurable positive impact alongside a traditional financial return. The latest cut of this film features a variety of experts, including:

• Peter Turkson, Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church

• Jon Hale, global head of sustainability research at Morningstar, Inc.

• Hazel Henderson, futurist, economist and author – one of the founders of the movement to responsible investing.

• Judith Karl, executive secretary of the U.N. Capital Development Fund

• Jonas Kron, senior vice president and director of shareholder advocacy at Trillium Asset Management

• John Streur, president and CEO of Calvert Research and Management

“Impact” also follows the entrepreneurial journeys of David Katz, founder and CEO of The Plastic Bank, and George Taylor, CEO of TRU Colors Brewing Company.

David and George embody the artistry that takes place when entrepreneurism aligns with purpose.

You can learn more about this project at http://impactu.film/, join the ImpactU community at https://impactu.me/, and get more resources about the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals through the ImpactU Foundation at https://impactu.foundation/ 

Common Interests Model Portfolio Featured in Citywire RIA Magazine

As a part of our commitment to expanding the reach of sustainable investing, I sat down with Citywire RIA Magazine to talk about how we approach the design and implementation of our portfolios. We talked about our Investment Philosophy, the investment models we offer to clients, and how we add new investments to our portfolios.

We even shared our Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) screened Moderate risk model with them so other advisors get tosee how we think about these issues.

We hope that by giving interviews like this one, we can encourage the larger community of financial advisors to take a harder look at investments that use Environmental, Social, and Governance factors. The interview also includes a discussion on the different approaches we take when clients come to us with specific requests, like Faith Based investing or Fossil Fuel Free Investing. If you’re curious, or would like to read more about our approaches, we’ve done a great blog post on the subject already!

Stewardship and Investing

My Partner and I are proud to be Social Entrepreneurs. Therefore, every day we talk about Sustainable, Responsible and Impact Investing (SRI).  We also talk about Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) screening and scoring.  More importantly, we talk about managing risk, rates of return, portfolio growth and retirement planning. That’s our business! Making money for our clients in a Sustainable and Responsible way.

All of these subjects come from the same source – STEWARDSHIP!  That’s ultimately the foundation of the discussion.  We can ask ourselves: “Will future generations have what they need to live a full and productive life in the future?”  The answer is evidenced by each of us, every day.  The decisions we make in our daily lives tell our story; good or bad. We will follow this truth: If it is to be it is up to me!

Stewardship means mindfully behaving in such a way that if everyone did the same, we would all be better off and our future would be bright!

How can we do this stewardship thing?  First, we must learn about the Circular Economy where there is NO Waste!  Second, we should  examine the supply chain management of corporations we buy things from. This will uncover hidden problems or harmful behaviors along the chain. The United Nations gives us a very good road map. They created the Sustainable Development Goals. They speak directly to the subject of Stewardship and show us what needs to be solved!

We can also turn to Shareholder Advocacy.  This actually FORCES Stewardship when needed!  This involves posting resolutions for corporate shareholders to vote on, in terms of continuing or stopping various corporate behaviors. This is the ‘walk softly, but carry a Big Stick’ approach to stewardship. Believe it or not, aberrant corporate behavior can be, and IS, changed every year by shareholder vote, or the threat of a shareholder vote!  We can make a difference!

There is definitely a need for an overwhelming theme of planetary stewardship.  Fortunately it is built into the SRI/ESG world by definition.  I think we should actually start taking credit for it! My first step is to start actually using the STEWARDSHIP word aloud in public.

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.

2019 Flourish Prize Finalists

Last year, we gave an interview to a group of students from Rutgers University working on the Aim2Flourish class offered at the Rutgers Business School. As a part of this class, students must select a business working to promote one or more of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, and these students chose to write about us. Their article, Investing for a Reason Beyond Money, was selected as a finalist for the 2019 Flourish Prize!

We’re in great company! The 76 Finalists for the 2019 Flourish Prizes represent stories from the more than 800 AIM2Flourish.com stories published in 2018, spanning the globe and showcasing business innovations for each of the 17 UN Global Goals. The 2019 Flourish Prizes Finalists include 76 stories from 30 universities in 16 countries under the guidance of 35 professors. The businesses profiled come from 27 countries and more than 19 industries. We’re proud to say we even know a few of them!

The prize-winning businesses, professors, universities, and students will be honored during the 2019 Flourish Prizes virtual celebration, taking place online the week of May 6–10. Follow the awards ceremony and see photos and videos from the winners by following #FlourishPrizes2019 on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. We hope you’ll join us. 

AIM2Flourish is the world’s first higher-education curriculum, story platform, and prize for the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals and business’ role in achieving them. The program is an initiative of the Fowler Center for Business as an Agent of World Benefit at the Weatherhead School of Management — Case Western Reserve University. For more information about AIM2Flourish, please contact Claire Sommer, AIM2Flourish Director at Claire@AIM2Flourish.com or +1 917-834-0323.

Effective Impact Investing

I’m excited to announce a blog post written in collaboration with Gabe Rissman of Stake and the Real Impact Tracker, on the Effective Altruism forum, entitled Effective Impact Investing.

A little background, as this links to a fairly obscure corner of the internet: in the distant past, I was a Philosophy major at Rutgers University where I became involved in the philosophy club and founded the Rutgers Undergraduate Philosophy Journal. Through my studies, I became involved with a group called Giving What We Can, which examined both the impact of our charitable dollars (much of which go to administrative overhead at various charities and is otherwise not put to work as donors expect). Bob and I have since been back to Rutgers to speak with this group. 

While I was studying Philosophy, my partner, Bob Goellner (then my financial advisor) introduced me to Sustainable, Responsible and Impact Investing, and how we can use Environmental, Social and Governance factors in the investment process, and I was struck by how I could align my investments with my values and use the power of money to create change in the world. I became a financial advisor due to my desire to help people plan for their futures and the legacy they leave behind – because future generations depend on the decisions we make today, both in terms of their finances and the impact of our investments on the planet and society.

At the end of last year, a philosopher named Hauke Hillebrandt made an argument that Impact investing is only a good idea in specific circumstances (originally titled: “Donating effectively is usually better than Impact Investing”) which I felt compelled to respond to. I’m proud of our response, and very pleased to work with Gabe, as his training at Yale and mine at Rutgers complemented each other nicely. The work we’ve produced together is written in an academic style and references a number of other academic studies as the forum it’s posted in requires, but it represents how we think about impact in our portfolios, and especially how much we value Shareholder Advocacy, where we use the power of active ownership to engage with the companies our clients own in their portfolios to change corporate behavior.

I invite you to read our entire post, and send us comments! We want to know what you think. The post can be found here: https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/Rkr2W8ADSGwWXfRBF/effective-impact-investing

You can learn more about Gabe and his work here.

Impact: A Documentary

We talk a lot about the impact of our investments, but it can be difficult to see impact from a financial statement. That’s why our Broker/Dealer, Vanderbilt Financial Group, produced this video to show the impact our investments can have.