Published by Kerry Meath-Sinkin
The choices we make with our money have an effect on us personally and on society as a whole. Buying products that are local and sustainable can support our communities and small businesses. Not buying products from companies that are hurting the environment or their workers can lead to changes in those companies’ policies and practices when conscientious consumers reach a critical mass. Another way we can have an effect with our money is how we choose to invest it. One of my biggest passions since I joined the financial planning industry has been researching, understanding and developing sustainable and impact investment strategies.On a personal level, I want my investments to make a difference. For those of you curious about sustainable or impact investing, I thought a brief overview might be helpful.
What is sustainable or impact investing?
Sustainable, responsible and impact investing strategies, otherwise known as “SRI,” is an investment discipline that considers environmental, social and corporate governance criteria to generate financial returns that have a positive impact. Environmental goals can consider water use and conservation, pollution, or clean technology. All steps that aim to reduce the carbon footprint of a company. Social criteria can include workplace safety, community development, and human rights. Corporate governance criteria can include board diversity, anti-corruption policies, and management structure. These are all goals that the SRI community believes will leave a positive impact in our world.
Where to start with sustainable or impact investing?
As an industry right now there is no single approach to sustainable or impact investing, and no single term to describe it. Depending on the emphasis of a certain portfolio, investors might use labels like “community investing,” “ethical investing,” “green investing,” “impact investing,” “responsible investing,” or “socially responsible investing.” These are all terms created to describe the type of investments you are putting your money towards, and there is no right or wrong answer.
Depending on your interest, there are many ways to get started with SRI investing. You can look at investing in companies with policies and practices that are important to you. You can look at community investing, which seeks to finance projects that will serve underserved communities worldwide. You can also look to get involved more with companies as a shareholder. These are just a few of the options emerging in the industry to meet the increasing demand for socially conscious strategies.
Taking the Leap
Knowing that I can play a bigger role in helping people, without compromising my family’s financial goals, gives me a lot of satisfaction. There are two challenges that I see for people looking at sustainable investing. First, a lot of us don’t know where to begin, and if we do, making these conscientious choices requires significant time and energy. To help address this, I want to do the research for you, boil it down, and make it easier to understand. Second, a question a lot of people ask is “can I invest in companies that have strong financial performance, while also contributing to advancements in social, environmental, and governance practices.” The answer is you CAN invest meaningfully and still make money. Continual advancements in technology are allowing significantly more choices to be available to the average investor. Choices make statements, statements require a response, and responses lead to change. We can choose to emphasize social good and lead companies and financial strategies to respond. As part of Wealth of Wellness I am committed to helping others like myself have the tools to choose to invest effectively and conscientiously.
Kerry Meath-Sinkin is a registered investment advisor and financial planner based in Minneapolis. She works with clients not only in the Twin Cities, but nationwide. Kerry believes in a holistic approach to finance. She works with her clients to develop a practical plan with their finances, while also working on their inner relationship with money. Together, these aspects allow clients to feel healthy, abundant, and free. Kerry also has a passion for healthy living, is a certified Ayurvedic practitioner, and public health educator. Click here to learn more about Kerry.
All investing involves risk, including the possible loss of principal. There is no assurance that any investment strategy will be successful. To determine what is appropriate for you, consult a qualified professional.