US SIF Foundation Launches Sustainable Investing Course For Individual Investors
This free online course is designed for individual investors who want to learn the basics of sustainable investing and is meant to make it easier for individuals to align their investments to address their social and environmental priorities.
The US SIF Foundation recently launched “Sustainable Investing: An Introductory Course for Individual Investors,” a free online course designed for investors who want to learn the basics of sustainable investing.
Interest in sustainable and impact investing has grown significantly in the past decade. As of 2018, total US-domiciled assets under management (AUM) using sustainable investment strategies grew from $8.7 trillion at the start of 2016 to $12.0 trillion at the start of 2018, a 38 percent increase. This course is meant to make it easier for individual investors to align their portfolios to address their social and environmental priorities.
The genesis of the course was a 2019 roundtable on expanding retail investor participation in sustainable investing, organized by the US SIF Foundation with the support of The Rockefeller Foundation. One of the biggest barriers the attendees identified to more individuals choosing sustainable investments was lack of basic knowledge about sustainable investing, such as definitions, product options and financial performance. The course launched today is meant to address this gap and to enable those who complete it to initiate conversations about sustainable investment options with financial advisors.
The US SIF Foundation has several initiatives to educate financial advisors about sustainable investing, including an online course on the “Fundamentals of Sustainable and Impact Investment.” In addition, in conjunction with the College of Financial Planning, it offers the only professional financial services designation for sustainable investing in the United States.
US SIF Foundation staff developed the course for retail investors with input from US SIF member firms. The course, which takes approximately 30 minutes to complete, provides a brief overview of the development of sustainable investing and summarizes the investment options and strategies available. It also links to additional resources and offers next steps for interested investors.
The modules include:
Module 1: What is Sustainable Investing?
Module 2: Investment Options
- Individual stocks
- Mutual funds and exchange-traded funds
- Retirement accounts
- Community-oriented cash and fixed income products
Module 3: Next Steps
- Professional investment advice
- Make an impact in your community
- Let’s test your knowledge
- Action items
Lisa Woll, CEO of the US SIF Foundation and US SIF said: “In order to fully carry out our mission of advancing sustainable investing, we need to empower individual investors with the baseline knowledge to differentiate between conventional and sustainable investments. We believe this course gives them the tools to do so.”
“This is an excellent time for individual investors to take the course,” said Michael Young, Manager of Education Programs at the US SIF Foundation. “As a result of the COVID-19 epidemic, many retail investors are looking for positive and productive ways to spend time under the various levels of quarantine they are undergoing. What’s more, interest in sustainable investing continues to grow as investors are more aware than ever of the social and environmental impacts that money can have.”
Adam Connaker, Principal, Innovative Finance at The Rockefeller Foundation said, “Foundations, family offices and high net worth individuals are increasingly interested in investing for impact and have an array of advisory services and other resources to assist them in this regard. In contrast, there have been few resources until now for retail investors — who are a key part of growing assets in sustainable and impact investing. We therefore are happy to support and congratulate the US SIF Foundation for developing this free course for retail investors. We believe it will further accelerate the growth of sustainable investment.”
The free online course can be accessed here.
About US SIF and the US SIF Foundation
US SIF: The Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment is the leading voice advancing sustainable, responsible and impact investing across all asset classes. Its mission is to rapidly shift investment practices toward sustainability, focusing on long-term investment and the generation of positive social and environmental impacts. US SIF members include investment management and advisory firms, mutual fund companies, asset owners, research firms, financial planners and advisors, broker-dealers, community investing organizations and nonprofit associations.
US SIF is supported in its work by the US SIF Foundation, a 501(C)(3) organization that undertakes educational and research activities to advance the mission of US SIF. The US SIF Foundation will publish the 2020 Report on US Sustainable and Impact Investing Trends in November. The Foundation also offers training on the Fundamentals of Sustainable and Impact Investment and in partnership with the College for Financial Planning, offers the only sustainable investment designation in the United States, the Chartered SRI Counselor™ (CSRIC™). A graduate-level program for advanced financial planners, CSRIC™ provides a blend of foundational knowledge and scenario learning to work with sustainable and impact investments for a variety of clients.