Reflections on SRI Investing in 2018

By Lisa Woll, CEO, US SIF and US SIF Foundation

Sustainable and impact investing in the United States continues to grow and to make a difference. Investors now consider environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors across $12 trillion of professionally managed assets, a 38 percent increase since 2016.

Asset management firms and institutional investors are addressing a diverse set of environmental, social and governance concerns across a broader span of assets than in 2016. Many of these money managers and institutions, concerned about racial and gender discrimination, gun violence and the federal government’s rollbacks of environmental protections, are using portfolio selection and shareowner engagement to address these important issues.

SOURCE: US SIF Foundation

Meanwhile, a number of surveys show that individual investors, too, are interested in investing for positive impact. Financial advisors are also becoming aware of the need and opportunity to offer sustainable investment options to clients. Innovation and technology advancements, such as targeted investment products, robo-advisors, and big data and artificial intelligence, have driven further interest and growth in sustainable and impact investing.

We at US SIF are heartened by these developments, and encourage investment professionals to continue learning about sustainable, responsible and impact investing and to aim for best practice. US SIF’s research and resources, including our Roadmap Series for advisors, asset managers and asset owners, and our online and live courses on the Fundamentals of Sustainable and Impact Investment, can assist in these efforts. We are pleased to partner with the College for Financial Planning in its launch this year of a Certified SRI Counselor designation.

The Report on US Sustainable, Responsible and Impact Investing Trends 2018 is a resource that provides a wealth of information on broad trends as well as detailed data on specific investment vehicles, ESG criteria and investor engagement strategies. I encourage you to dig into the contents of this report and use it to advance your organization’s work and the sustainable investment field. Please visit https://www.ussif.org for more information on our work.

 

About Lisa Woll   As the CEO, Lisa leads US SIF and the US SIF Foundation’s overall direction and sits, ex-officio, on all board committees. She has been the CEO of US SIF and the US SIF Foundation since 2006, and has been responsible for strategic planning, developing a robust policy presence, expansion and diversification of funding, launching our national conference and creating the Center for Sustainable Investment Education.  

Prior to US SIF, Lisa was executive director of the International Women’s Media Foundation, an organization focused on press freedom and expansion of women’s role in the media. During her tenure, the IWMF played a significant role in re-orienting the way journalism training was carried out on the issues of HIV-AIDS, malaria and TB in several African media organizations. Lisa also spent a decade working on children’s human rights.  She was the director of the first international study to look at the impact of the Convention on the Rights of the Child and directed the Washington, DC office of Save the Children. She is a member of the Advisory Council of the Children’s Rights Division of Human Rights Watch.

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Comments (2)

  • I have been following SRI, Green and Impact Investing in both Canada and through Cliff’s newsletter for several years. In Canada there are a number of ‘Ethical’ investment funds. As a supporter of co-operatives my focus here has been on ‘Ethical’ funds through the credit unions and The Co-operators Insurance although I have looked at several other corporate funds ethical funds as well. Alas, all contain investments in banks, oil companies and other investments I do not wish to invest in. The problem here is that fund regulators insist that funds have ‘blue chip’ content to lower risk. Is this also a problem in the US?

    I hope you will find time in your busy schedule to respond.

    Best regards,

    Tom Webb
    tom.webb@smu.ca

  • Yes it is as the SEC regulates the financial markets with more oversight since the financial crisis. In Canada, the Responsible Investment Assn is definitely the leading organization to join for the best information at- https://www.riacanada.ca/

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