For Our Grandkids Victoria partnered with the BC Sustainable Energy Association to put on “Green It Or Lose It,” a public forum about aligning our investments (eg. our RRSPs and RESPs) with our values, and in particular with our climate concerns.
Two responsible investment experts – Stephen Whipp and Craig McDougall – were invited along with representatives of the agroforestry company World Tree that people can invest in directly.
Many of us are unaware that our savings are helping to foster climate chaos. A recent study found that the average $100,000 investment portfolio has a bigger annual carbon impact than eating meat, driving a car, and taking a round-trip flight.
Stephen and Craig talked about how the last few years have seen an explosion of options for people who want to practice responsible investing, including fossil fuel-free funds that have rates of returns equal to or sometimes even better than the broader market.
It all starts with values. A person can write down the values she or he wants to bring to investing, and then go talk to their investment advisor about moving their money into the types of investments that reflect those values. If the investment advisor doesn’t deliver, then shop around!
This may be particularly true if you are at one of the big banks that are putting hundreds of billions into fossil fuels. Some of them have fossil fuel-free funds, but those are absolutely dwarfed by the rest of their operations. There are alternatives with credit unions and independent investment firms.
Or, investors can consider directly investing in companies like World Tree that are higher risk but higher potential reward. This company plants fast-growing Empress trees on marginal farmland in the US Southeast and Latin America with a view to producing valuable hardwood for furniture and other uses. People can invest directly.
Said Kathryn Molloy of For Our Grandkids: “I have great anxiety about future climate stability and how that will affect the lives of my 3 adult kids and their families, particularly my 6 grandkids. I have been working on divesting from fossil fuels for two decades and although I consider myself a well-informed person, I still gained a lot of new information from this finance forum. I make a good return on my sustainable investment portfolio and it baffles me that although a large majority of Canadians feel that making a change to their investments is timely and the right thing to do, only a small minority have actually done anything about it."
"A great take-a-way tool for me was learning about Corporate Knights eco-fund ranking https://www.corporateknights.com/channels/responsible-investing/2019-eco-fund-ranking-15493464/. Join For Our Grandkids in Victoria and help me and others to educate and encourage our friends to talk to their investment advisors about sustainable options.”
If we are to stop runaway climate change, a key thing we need to do is to stop investing in it. Today it’s easier than ever to move our money to responsible options. And, hosting these kinds of public forums is a great way to spread the word.