“What progress in ESG investing inspires you today?

In exploring this question we reached out to leading experts in the ESG investing industry to find out their responses, and this is what we found…

QUESTIONWhat progress in ESG investing inspires you today?

ANSWERPeter Fusaro, Partner & Head of ESG and Impact AV Group and Founder, Wall Street Green Summit

ANSWERThe Covid crisis has created a unique opportunity to rebuild society where human health and welfare come first. I am particularly inspired by the hundreds of thousands of young people throughout the world who are ready and capable of helping to do the heavy lifting required to accelerate sustainibility in clean energy, sustainable agriculture, clean water, a regenerative economy, and social justice. ESG investors get read for this inflection point!

QUESTIONWhat progress in ESG investing inspires you today?

ANSWERBob Dannahuser, CFA, FRM, CAIA & Senior Advisor, The Investment Integration Project

I’ve had a front-row seat to sustainable investing over the course of my career and have seen it evolve from something driven more by marketing to something beginning to become rooted in investment analysis and strategy. And while cynical voices remain (and are well worth listening to, for they make us better), I’m gratified that environmental issues in particular are much more mainstream.  The pandemic, an awful episode with catastrophic impact for so many, offers an opportunity for social issues to join that trajectory to become a more routine component of what drives investor decisions, as the systemic, disruptive effects of income inequality, worker rights, and a fragile healthcare system become more prominent to more of us.

QUESTIONWhat progress in ESG investing inspires you today?

ANSWERChris Stearns, CFP & Financial Advisor at Conte Wealth Advisors, LLC

ANSWER”The welfare of any segment of humanity is inextricably bound up with the welfare of the whole. Humanity’s collective life suffers when any one group thinks of its own well-being in isolation from that of its neighbours…” – The Universal House of Justice.

QUESTIONWhat progress in ESG investing inspires you today?

ANSWERDr. Gillian Marcelle, Resilience Capital Ventures 

ANSWERESG investing has great potential to contribute to sustainable development and improved livelihoods for persons living in communities with high climate risk and vulnerability. I am seeing slow movement in mainstream and alternative financial institutions, understanding how an ESG investment philosophy can be good for both the bottom line and society. Finding ways to accelerate these changes keeps me motivated and inspired.   

QUESTIONWhat progress in ESG investing inspires you today?

ANSWERJeffrey Gitterman, Co-Founding Partner and creator of Sustainable and Impact Investing Services at Gitterman Wealth Management, LLC

ANSWEROne of the things lacking in ESG data has been information on racial inequality at the corporate level for both pay equity and management opportunities, as well as board seats. George Floyd protests have exposed this lack of disclosure and we are starting to shed some light on better corporate disclosure. You can’t manage what you don’t measure.

QUESTIONWhat progress in ESG investing inspires you today?

ANSWERWilliam Burckart, Co-Founder and President, The Investment Integration Project; co-author of 21st Century Investing: Redirecting Financial Strategies to Drive Systems Change (2021)

ANSWERMore and more, investors—big and small, individual and institutional—are beginning to extend their embrace of ESG investing to include the context (or systems) in which they operate. In doing so, these investors are charting a path forward for the financial community to better manage and solve the complex and interconnected social and environmental challenges like income inequality and climate change that are increasingly threatening returns across all asset classes.

QUESTIONWhat progress in ESG investing inspires you today?

ANSWERDorri McWhorter, CEO, YWCA Metropolitan Chicago

ANSWERIt is inspiring to see investors actively seeking new impact investing strategies across different asset classes. At the same time, we are witnessing social impact organizations actively creating new vehicles and strategies! I am excited that engagement is coming from both the finance industry and social impact organizations with the objective to use finance as a tool to accelerate the pace of change.

QUESTIONWhat progress in ESG investing inspires you today?

ANSWERPhil Kirshman, CFA, CFP & Founder at Impact Metropolis

ANSWERI’m inspired by the energy of the next generation, which seems to be significantly more thoughtful about how investment capital will be deployed in the future than their parents and grandparents were. I’m inspired by the rigor with which many are approaching the field today, in terms of evaluation, analysis, and impact measurement of the investable universe. Finally, I’m inspired by the authenticity and commitment of many of the practitioners of the impact investment field, older and younger, who are seeking ways to make a measurable positive difference in the world.

QUESTIONWhat progress in ESG investing inspires you today?

ANSWER Aisha Williams – ESG Investment Advisor, RJK Associates

ANSWERI’m inspired by the continuing shift in attitudes towards investing sustainably as awareness is increasing among younger investors of the source of investment returns, which in turn is prompting a shift towards ESG mandates such as the European Commission’s Action Plan on Sustainable Finance. In The UK, climate risk concerns have prompted the Financial Conduct Authority to consult on proposals that will require financial firms to disclose how they handle climate risk and other ESG criteria. The continual progress in ESG investing, supported by institutional mandates, clearly shows the realization that the adoption of ESG investing needs to be proactive in order to aid in the reshaping of the investment landscape towards responsible and sustainable investing.   

Why We Should Be Inspired

I’m starting with the man in the mirror

I’m asking him to change his ways

And no message could have been clearer

If you want to make the world a better place

Take a look at yourself then make a change

– Man in the Mirror – Michael Jackson

The Socially Inspired Investor in this issue focuses on the very inspiring ways the investment community has come together to make the world a better place.

Socially inspired investing has made a difference.

Why we are finally moving in the right direction.

We know because in this, our 5th issue, we are told by the pros why they are optimistic, inspired, and more empowered than ever before – and why we should be as well.

Our Spotlight On section poses the question to leaders in the investment community, “What progress in ESG investing inspires you today?”.

Surely there is a lot of agreement. They cite changing social attitudes passionately fueled by newer generations, the recognition from authoritative sources that companies that lean toward social and environmental awareness tend to do better. And then of course there is a myriad of technologoical advancements that now allow the world to operate on a lower carbon footprint.

In our SII podcast hosted by Pat O’Neill, we hear from Mr. Georg Kell himself, a pioneer in the ESG world and author of the upcoming book Sustainable Investing: A pathway to a new horizon definitely shares his inspiration. Georg, brings to life the maturation of the socially inspired investing movement.

No doubt daunting challenges still lie ahead. But we can face them, not with exasperation from what still needs to be done, but with satisfaction from what we have been able to accomplish so far. Let’s keep the faith together.

Thank you for spending time with us and feel free to share the Socially Inspired Investor with others you think may be interested.