What impact Are Your Investments Making?
Background. Impact investing began with religious organizations and other non-profits that wanted portfolios in line with their values. Typical concerns in the early years were apartheid, alcohol, tobacco, abortion and armaments.
Negative Screens. The initial focus was on eliminating stocks that were not consistent with the investor’s values. Common examples of these “sin stocks” were companies that did business with South Africa, tobacco companies, defense contractors and certain drug companies.
Early Challenges. Early impact investing was an imperfect science. Large conglomerates often owned multiple business, some offensive and some benign. For example, GE made appliances and jet engines for the military. As a result, many companies with good returns and positive business lines were eliminated, resulting in sub-par returns for impact investors.
New Opportunities. Two developments have fueled the growth of impact investing. First, the power of “big data” makes it possible to evaluate companies much more effectively for positive traits. ESG “screens” provide a detailed metric for measuring a company’s performance in areas like Environmental, Social Responsibility and Governance. Just as importantly, companies that meet high standards of ESG are performing better than other companies. As a result, investors can now add to their portfolios well-performing companies that espouse values they believe in.
Information for Investors. As impact investing goes mainstream, there are excellent resources for investors. As just one example, explore ImpactInvestingExchange.Com, an information portal for impact investors.
Do you want to do well financially and do good socially? IWM Advisors works with its clients to build impact portfolios. Please contact us if we can be of help: firstname.lastname@example.org or 917.697.4156.