There are signs that environmental risks, particularly extreme weather and government regulations to reduce pollution, are becoming both more material but also systemic, with the potential to affect large swathes of investment portfolios.
The American Petroleum Institute (API), the powerhouse lobbying group for the oil industry, is pushing hard for actions that are not only explicitly against the interests of investors, but that bolster corrupt regimes in many foreign countries.
Whenever I talk to businesses, they tell me that identifying and reporting their human rights impacts is hard. It sure is. But so is serving millions of hamburgers every day. I like to think that sometime in the future, companies won't be able to do the latter without the former.
A powerful myth of the '70s was that "you have to eat meat to get enough protein!" and one of today's myths is that "if you dump oil stocks your portfolio will suffer!" Good nutrition, people now know, is no longer about meat and potatoes.
Those engaged in socially responsible investing are now expending time and focus on debating one another about divestment instead of taking action to address the problem. We are treating our good allies as enemies. This is not productive.
The sad truth is that most people don't look beyond the top-line numbers to see what is driving their portfolio. There is a high chance that you are investing in something you might find objectionable.
At least sixty years of investors boycotting the gun trade has yielded zero result. In fact, SRI activism works best when rewarding companies that care about being good, whose products sustain life rather than take it.
Cerberus Capital's decision to sell its stake in the Freedom Group, maker of the gun used in the Newtown shootings, is being widely applauded. But divestment is exactly the wrong outcome: Running away from the problem doesn't solve it.
I was at Bloomberg to explore corporate sustainability data as a fuel for impact investing in transformative innovation. So I sat up when Daniel Doctoroff, Bloomberg's CEO, said the market's movement toward sustainability had reached a tipping point.
We are excited about the increased interest in Impact Investing on the part of investors. But in order for this burgeoning sector to continue to be successful we need to ensure that we are working together to support the development of the entire ecosystem.
Investing in one's community has been part of the culture in the U.S. since our country was founded. Early on, it was as simple as sharing an abundant crop with a neighbor or extending a hand to a stranger in need.
Remove foreclosure as an outcome of non-payment and an entirely fresh vision of borrower-lender relationship is put in place, now as cooperating partners, as in a business deal, because that's really what it is.