by Leslie Samuelrich, President of Green Century Funds
The climate crisis is precipitating a sustainable investment revolution, and I think that revolution will endure in 2020.
When the environmentally-responsible mutual fund company that I lead was founded in 1991, the average investor was not concerned about sustainability. Times have changed. Nearly 80 percent of respondents to a recent study said that they “love the idea of investing in companies that care about the same issues” as them. This isn’t just lip service.
According to US SIF: The Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investing, Socially Responsible Investing (“SRI”) has reached the $12 trillion asset mark. Unfortunately, the vast majority — 97 percent, to be precise — comprises investments in the traditional capital markets in which decisions are made using Environmental, Social, or Governance (“ESG”) criteria. While I applaud people adding ESG screens to their portfolio, it is imperative that we find ways to support direct, community-level investments.
Welcome to GreenMoney’s January 2019 issue featuring the recently released “Report on US Sustainable, Responsible, and Impact Investing Trends”. Spend some time with these articles, based on the US SIF report, covering the multiple aspects of where the SRI industry has been and where it is headed. The numbers in the Trends Report are positive, as more investors, institutions and financial professionals understand that SRI is good for themselves, their clients, and all of us.
For the past two years a few data points / narratives stood out in conversations about making the sustainable investing case: “$1-in-$6 in Assets Under (professional) Management; $6 trillion-plus; 12% and more of the total equity AUM. Hey – there are important new references points now to use, courtesy of the U.S. Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment (US SIF) and the SIF Foundation, and SIF/Croatan Institute research team. These findings come from the report just released by US SIF: “Report on US Sustainable, Responsible and Impact Investing Trends 2016.”
If you’re an investor looking for alpha, how does a growth rate of 76 percent over two years’ time sound? That’s the rate of increase in socially responsible investment assets from 2012 to the start of 2014. Those assets totaled $6.5 trillion dollars, by the way. According to the Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment, US SIF, from 1995 to 2014 the SRI sector increased 929 percent, with a compound annual growth rate of 13.6 percent, some pretty impressive figures.