“Remember, remember always, that all of us, and you and I especially, are descended from immigrants and revolutionists.” ~ Franklin D. Roosevelt
This quote is a reminder of our country’s make-up and resonates with everyone in some capacity. For us, Rick’s hip replacement this summer has limited our cycling, and in its place we have spent the time exploring our family trees. It’s a labor of love and has been a small obsession if the truth be told.
As we trace our roots we have found pieces of information that are like small bits of gold and brought out some ah-ha moments. I found my mother’s naturalization application to become a US citizen. I was two years old at the time. My family line is deep and goes back hundreds of years in Mexico City. Thank goodness for Mexican census data and church records. Tracing back Rick’s family, we landed in Plymouth and then in Suffolk, England. We have discovered Civil War draft papers, captains, shipbuilders, and farmers.
All of this has led us to reflect on how it is possible, in this generation, to have a beautiful mixture of rich cultures that would never have met in the past. We wonder how each side of our families felt landing on a new shore and building a life in a strange country. It has also confirmed our viewpoint that diversity, social justice, and being positively impactful in our life and business is a key principle for us. Investing with your values is not a new concept, and was a practice carried out by those in the New World who opposed slavery and smuggling.
Today, there are more options than ever for those of us who want to support socially conscious, sustainable, and ethical business practices, women in leadership, gender equality, and projects that encourage positive environmental benefits.
So what exactly is the idea behind socially responsible investing? First, it is good to know that it comes with many names: SRI (socially responsible investing), ESG (environmental, social, and governance factors), Impact Investing, and Responsible Investing. And it can encompass a wide range of parameters. You can exclude investments or look to actively include investments. Traditionally tobacco, gambling, and firearms have been excluded in the narrow definition of socially responsible investing. Today it is less about excluding and more about including and supporting companies that have women in leadership, family friendly policies, positive environmental practices, and governance structures that are diverse and inclusive. It is making an impact through investing. It is a way to make your voice heard and with enough voices, create change.
According to Morningstar, investing using sustainable or impact principles is no small thing. In 2016 investors allocated 3 billion dollars to funds with such a mandate. In the past, choosing to invest with your values or investing to “make money” felt and often were polar opposites. As impact investing gathers momentum, new studies are finding that the opposite is actually true and returns to investors are often outperforming non-impact focused peers. If you think about it, this makes sense. If you treat your employees well, source your materials responsibly, and take care of the planet, you are more likely to attract exceptional talent and loyal clients/customers. And research bears this truth. Companies that score high on the American Customer Satisfaction Index, that have greater shareholder rights, and have high eco-efficiency and generate less waste generally outperform those who do not. 
Next steps? Look for an investment firm and advisors that ask you about your belief systems and shares their ideas about impact investing. In today’s social climate there’s no reason you can’t find opportunities to align investments and goals at the same time.
Opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.
All performance referenced is historical and is no guarantee of future results.
The return may be lower than if the adviser made decisions based solely on investment considerations.
Investing involves risk including loss of principal.