Here’s what you need to know about impact investing, where returns are not the only reward

by Debora Nason, CNBC

Growing rapidly within the socially responsible investing landscape is the world of so-called impact investing, which deploys your money more directly toward solving societal problems.

Largely executed through direct investing platforms, this approach addresses specific problems, such as alleviating poverty in certain communities or reducing pollution.

These investments are designed to generate specific, positive and measurable environmental, social, and/or good governance outcomes, oftentimes with market-rate financial returns, said Michael Kramer, managing partner of Natural Investments in Kona, Hawaii. Furthermore, outcomes can have a local or a societal focus.

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Market Report – Fall 2020

In spite of heightened volatility in stocks as the quarter drew to a close, the markets generally moved higher over the period. For the quarter, US large company stocks rose 8.9%, smaller company US stocks were up 4.9%, foreign stocks were higher by 4.8%, and US bonds, broadly measured, were up 0.6%. While stock indexes were higher for the quarter, the markets were mixed, with small company and foreign stocks having lost value, while large company stocks have moved higher.

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SRI in Focus: Lunatics in the Asylum

Despite the pandemic and ensuing economic crisis, socially responsible investments (SRI) have received higher inflows of capital in 2020 than in any other period of American history. That’s right: investors have poured more than $21 billion into 300+ publicly available domestic SRI funds, well before the year’s end. All told, investors have already purchased more sustainable investments in the first half of this year than in all of 2019––a year that had already seen inflows that were a whopping 4 times higher than any previous year.

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In the News: Fall 2020

1: WASHINGTON (PRO FOOTBALL TEAM) MOVES TOWARD CHANGING CONTROVERSIAL TEAM NAME

After public political protest and financial pressure by major corporate backers such as FedEx, Nike, and Pepsi, in July the owner of the Washington, D.C., professional football team agreed to change the team’s derogatory name. The move was celebrated by SRI investors, who have long advocated in support of Indigenous peoples’ fight for years to remove Native references in mascots and logos. Washington Post

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Even Worse “Worst-Case Scenario” Planning

If you’re working with a financial planner, chances are you’re the kind of person who has also prepared for the possibility of an earthquake, hurricane, or wildfires. But have you prepared for potential civil unrest around the election? “What? No, that could never happen here!” you might be thinking. Well, it’s not something I’d ever worried about before either, but hear me out.

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Shareholder Activism: The Name of The Game

Socially responsible investing has gone mainstream, if you haven’t heard.  Recent reports show that the total amount of professionally managed money invested with social and or environmental criteria has topped $11 trillion.  This hasn’t gone unnoticed by a myriad of large and small investment companies and advisors.  It is now more important than ever for committed conscientious investors to understand the various shades of socially responsible investment options in the marketplace.  Much of what passes for environmental, social and governance (ESG) investments end up as merely a fund of typical companies which have been run through a screener to weed out the worst of them, known as “avoidance investing,” and their work is done.  That’s it, pretty thin soup for investors aspiring to improve the world.

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BLM: Resources for Solidarity Actions

The recent national outcry over police violence against Black Americans highlights both the institutional racism of the criminal justice system and the deep socioeconomic disparities Black communities must contend with. Natural Investments has long been committed to channeling investment capital to community development intermediaries and enterprises operated by and for people of color as a way to address systemic inequality. To bolster Black economic power in this moment, here are some resources for directing investment capital into communities of color.

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