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Making Money and Making a Difference: Investing for Impact
By Tyler Collins

First Affirmative President, Steve Schueth spoke to the topic of “Investing for Impact” during The Healthy Money Summit on November 9th—a virtual conference focused on money. Susan Davis moderated the conversation, and Steve was joined by Alisa Gravitz, CEO and President of Green America.

Big picture: The speakers recognized the reality of our current situation—that we live in a world that is not particularly sustainable. The question is… How can investors direct the flow of investment capital in ways that can help catalyze a shift toward a truly sustainable future? How can we heal the lifeblood of the global economy?

Steve and Alisa both emphasized the notion that investors have an important role to play. No one person or single institution controls enough money to control future events, but collectively, though conscious choice, responsible investors and consumers can use their money very intentionally to create positive change.

How? Alisa recommended starting with moving checking and savings accounts, and credit card relationships to local, community banks instead of continuing to deal with “mega” corporate banks.

For investment accounts, Steve suggested the many mutual funds available where the manager knows how to integrate SRI/ESG analysis in the investment process. It makes even more sense to work with a knowledgeable investment advisor who can help create a diversified portfolio with exposure to various assets classes and investment styles utilizing various investment products.

The group discussed a Ceres initiative which has mobilized U.S.-based investors around “climate risks.” Pressure from investors with more than $10 billion under management and has been widely successful in motivating some of the largest companies in the world to change their practices.

Listen to the full 60-minute conversation: http://dl.dropbox.com/u/14010275/Healthy%20Money%20Talk%2020121109.mp3

Resources from Green America: Money and Investing Guides: http://www.greenamerica.org/pubs/

Posted: November 21, 2012