Sustainable investing gains momentum
By Christina Williams
Sustainable Business Oregon editor
Christina Williams is the editor of Sustainable Business Oregon.
A report published Wednesday shows continued growth in the area of sustainable investing, finding that $1 out of every $9 invested in the U.S. is being put to work using strategies of sustainable and responsible investing.
The Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment, which put out "Sustainable and Responsible Investing Trends in the United States 2012," has been tracking this space since 1995.
The group's researcher found that a total of $3.74 trillion in U.S. assets are invested with strategies that take into consideration environmental, social and governance issues, up 22 percent since the end of 2009. Environmental factors specifically are used in the management of 551 investment vehicles with $240 billion under management.
In releasing the findings, Lisa Woll, CEO of the forum said the report "demonstrates that we are moving closer to a sustainable and equitable economy."
But what's exciting to me is the way clued-in investors are moving up the continuum of sustainable investing. While it used to be that groups and individuals would be meticulous about filtering out the bad stuff from their portfolios — no tobacco, no firearms, that kind of thing — more and more often they're proactively investing in things that actually do good.
To pick an example of something that would warm Bill McKibben's heart, it's taking a step beyond divesting yourself from all fossil fuel holdings and putting that money instead toward the development of clean energy sources.
At Sustainable Business Oregon, we've been tracking the infiltration of sustainability into the investment world with the help of John Wrenn, who through the Sustainable Alpha series has chatted up some of the biggest brains on the topic.
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