Interested in environmentally-conscious investing? Get to know green funds.
And, investing isn’t the only way to show your support for the environment. Check out How to Vote with Your Wallet for the Environment for more eco-friendly financial tips. Plus, if you’re new to investing, check out our glossary to get comfortable with financial terminology.
What are Green Funds?
Green funds are investment vehicles that only invest in environmentally-conscious companies. The best green funds focus on supporting companies in alternative and renewable energy, promoting sustainability and reducing their carbon footprint, and making efforts to green and be eco-friendly. They also avoid oil and fossil fuel companies, nuclear power companies and companies creating nuclear waste, and companies destroying natural resources.
Check out our environmental portfolio to learn more about how Invested Interests promotes green funds.
Are Green Funds Competitive?
When you invest in the environment not just doing the right thing – you’re doing the smart thing. Recent reports from the United Nations reiterate the dangers of climate change. It’s the defining problem of this century, and where there’s a massive problem there’s also a massive business opportunity.
According to CNBC, “2019 saw a total of 479 green bonds issued worldwide, up by a quarter compared to the previous year.” Earth.Org notes, “The total value of global sustainable investments in 2018 stood at US$ 30.7 trillion- growth of 34% over two years” It’s clear that sustainability is the future of business.
Why do we need Green Investing?
Investing is meant to protect our financial future. How can we invest in our financial future without considering our environmental future?
Climate change has already made a huge impact on our world and continues to threaten the future of our planet. As ethical investors, we strive to align our finances with our morals to support social justice and change.
Ready to start making an impact? Reach out to our team to begin your green investment journey today.
The month of October is home to far more than spooky ghouls and goblins. We’re talking about LGBTQ History Month. So buckle up peanut butter cups, we’re about to dive in deep.
What is LGBTQ+ History Month?
Starting many years ago, 26 years to be exact, a group of teachers realized that their curriculums danced around LGBTQ history, and failed to give credit and praise to historical icons from the LGBTQ community. In fact, worldwide the LGBTQ+ community is the only community that does not have its history taught at home, in public schools, or in religious institutions.
In an effort to educate today’s youth, many who identify as LGBTQ+ themselves, LGBTQ+ History Month was born.
Today, LGBTQ+ History Month celebrates the achievements of 31 lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender icons with one new figure being introduced each day of October. This civil rights statement allows the community to stand in their own spotlight to honor their extraordinary national and international contributions.
What other days in October are important to the LGBTQ+ community?
National Coming Out Day. October 11th
In 1988, Richard Elchberg and Jean O’leary founded “Coming Out Day ” to raise awareness for the LGBTQ+ community and it’s prominent civil rights movement. October 11th was chosen to mark the anniversary of the second National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights.
Today, National Coming Out Day is observed throughout the United States and other countries around the world and used as an outlet for closeted LGBTQ+ members to embrace their community publically.
In fact, organizations like The Trevor Project have created valuable resources to support individuals who are preparing to come out to friends, family, or the general public. Most recently, The Trevor Project has published “COMING OUT: A Handbook for LGBTQ Young People” which contains helpful tips, FAQ’s and advice for readers.
Spirit Day. October 15th
In support of LGBTQ+ youth, Spirit Day is celebrated across the United States as a way to take a united stance against LGBTQ+ bullying and harassment. Observers are encouraged to wear purple and spread important facts about the challenges LGBTQ+ youth face, such as:
- 70.1% of LGBTQ students report being verbally harassed.
- 71% of LGBTQ students report hearing homophobic remarks from teachers and/or school staff because of their gender expression
- 86% of LGBTQ youth said that recent politics have negatively impacted their well-being.
- 1 in 3 LGBTQ youth reported that they had been physically threatened or harmed in their lifetime due to their LGBTQ identity.
Intersex Awareness Day: October 26
To celebrate the first Intersex protest that occurred in Boston, MA, October 26th is dedicated to promoting human rights actions and to educating the public about the history of the intersex community. It was established in 2004 by Betsy Driver and Emi Koyama.
Asexual Awareness Week: October 25 -31
This week, also known as ACE week, serves as an international campaign for raising awareness and expanding education on asexuality. This campaign was not founded until 2010, but since has made extraordinary progress including joining multiple organizations such as Asexual Outreach, and financing an educational documentary.
The latest political news for the LGBTQ+ community
Two recent political hotspots that heavily impact the rights of the LGBTQ+ community both hang from the judicial branch of government.
Amy Coney Barrett has been known to oppose federal laws overseeing marriage equality and instead believes it should be left to state legislators. This opinion clashes directly with the famous Obergefell v. Hodges court case, which now may be revisited by a majority conservative Supreme Court. More on this here.
The second big headline is that of FULTON V. CITY OF PHILADELPHIA. On November 4th, the Supreme Court will be hearing a case surrounding the LGBTQ+ community and the foster care system. While there have been previous state bans preventing the LGBTQ+ community from being foster or adoptive parents.
If the Supreme Court does not affirm the lower court’s decisions, this case could allow “private agencies that receive taxpayer-funding to provide government services — such as foster care providers, food banks, homeless shelters, and more — to deny services to people who are LGBTQ, Jewish, Muslim, or Mormon.”
How to support the LGBTQ+ community
While the month of October should be a breath of fresh air for the LGBTQ+ community, where their attention is on learning and showcasing their proudest moments, 2020 has clouded it with political pressure. Now more than ever, it is important to not only tune-in but to find ways to show support to those whose rights are at risk.
One way to show support is to divest in companies who have not shown any public support for the LGBTQ+ community and direct personal funding to those who have. Our team at Invested Interests is dedicated to providing investment portfolios that cater to what matters most, which is why our Human Rights and Diversity portfolio means so much to us this month.
If you’re looking to realign your investment choices with your political motivations, we’d be more than happy to help. Connect with us here, and start investing in what matters.
Your vote matters. Your political donations matter, too.
As investors, we understand the importance of money in our personal finances, but what about in our country’s electoral politics? If you don’t know much about campaign finance, you’re not alone. When I was asked to write this article, I quickly realized there was a lot for me to learn — campaign finance terminology, important court cases, and key legislation.
The ABC’s of Campaign Finance
Even those of us well acquainted with financial terminology may come across a few unfamiliar terms when trying to understand campaign finances. So, here are some common terms to get us started.
A Campaign Committee is a group organized by a candidate running for office to accept donations and spend that money on staff, ads, and any other political efforts.
Political Action Committees, commonly referred to as PACs, are outside groups seeking to influence an election. Most PACs represent industry, business, labor or ideological interests. PACs are regulated by the federal government and have constraints on their expenditures and budgets. They can give up to $5,000 to a candidate committee per election (primary, general or special), up to $15,000 annually to any national party committee, and up to $5,000 annually to any other PAC. An individual can donate up to $5,000 to a PAC per calendar year.
The Citizens United Decision refers to a landmark supreme court case that expanded corporations’ and outside groups’ ability to donate to contribute to campaigns. For a more in-depth explanation, check out this article from the Brennan Center for Justice.
Dark money is the name given to political spending meant to influence voters from nonprofits who are not legally required to reveal their donors.
The Federal Election Campaign Act is the legislation that regulates campaign finance. In 1974, the act established the Federal Election Commission (FEC), which is the independent regulatory agency that administers and enforces federal campaign finance law.
So, what is the true power of our dollar when it comes to contributing? And how can we make our contributions more effective?
According to some experts, the best move for individuals is to support early and support local.
Many people have already decided who to vote for by the time they register to vote. Near the end of a campaign, there are fewer minds to change. Donating early may have a stronger impact on swaying undecided voters. Research suggests that supporting candidates early in the primary can make a big impact on getting a candidate into the general election.
Similarly, supporting more local candidates is one way to increase the efficacy of your dollar. Most local elections don’t attract national attention or dollars. Small races need small donors.
As of the writing of this blog, the 2020 presidential election is projected to cost $11 billion. In contrast, the 2017 Minneapolis mayor election cost about $1.3 million. If you don’t have the ability to pledge $18 million to the DNC like Mike Bloomberg, consider supporting a local race.
And, don’t let your personal investments work against your political ones! Ensure you’re investing with the same ethics you’re voting with. Learn more about your impact today.
Want to learn more about how to vote with your wallet? Check out How to Vote with Your Wallet, How to Vote with Your Wallet for the Environment, and How to Vote with Your Wallet for Peace. Keep reading to learn more about investing in human rights and diversity.
October is an important month — and not just because of Halloween on the 31st. October is also Disability Employment Awareness Month and LGBT+ History Month. It’s a time of year for us to reflect on diversity and inclusion.
As ethical investors, we value inclusion and human rights. But, how can we show our support financially? Voting with our wallets for human rights and diversity is a critical first step towards supporting historically-oppressed groups.
Support Diverse Small Businesses
Show your support for disabled and LGBTQ+ entrepreneurs by shopping from their stores. With the holiday season quickly approaching, you can use your financial vote for inclusion when picking out presents for your loved ones this year. Get started by considering what kind of item you’re looking for and researching shops to support.
Got a four-legged friend in need of treats? Head to Gracie’s Doggie Delights. Are you looking for jewelry? Check out Automic Gold. In search of a new outfit? Shop designs from Rebirth Garments. In need of something else? Stop by one of the many lists of inclusive brands to shop, like 15 Black LGBTQ Small Businesses To Support Right Now or 15 Disability-Owned Businesses to Support During COVID-19.
In addition, you can keep a running list of shops you would like to support in the future. My notes app is full of creators I enjoy and links to their work. This way, I have their shop information when I can afford to support them.
Donate Directly to People in Need
Mutual aid is the radical idea of giving to your community in solidarity rather than as charity. The need for mutual aid has increased recently as many communities are fighting against the effects of systemic racism and the COVID-19 pandemic. Support human rights by supporting your neighbors.
Social media and crowdfunding websites have made it easier for people to communicate their needs directly. Activists such as model Aaron Philip have used their platforms to uplift the needs of community members. Facebook communities like South Minneapolis Mutual Aid are also great resources.
Following a few groups who promote mutual aid is a good way to keep yourself up-to-date on your community’s needs. When you have some extra money or other resources to spare, considering giving to a neighbor in need.
If you’re uncomfortable with the concept of mutual aid or donating directly to someone in need, ask yourself why. Mutual aid is meant to promote community and support your neighbors. Personally, I find the best way to show my support is through a mix of giving to mutual aid and local charities.
If you’re not donating directly to someone in need, do a little research on the place you’re donating to. A quick google search should give you some insight into the charity. For some more tips, check out this article.
Invest in What Matters
Finally, make sure your investments aren’t working against all your endeavors for human rights and diversity. Switching to socially responsible investing can help ensure that your finances are working towards a better future.
Be conscious of your investments. Your invested dollars go towards innovation, technology, and more. Make sure they’re working with your values. Check out our Human Rights and Diversity portfolio and learn more at InvestedInterests.com.
What does choosing a political candidate to vote for have in common with choosing an investment portfolio? If you’re anything like us – A LOT! Accountability is a huge component of how we curate our portfolios and our ballots.
Accountability is holding institutions and individuals to a standard that aligns with one’s values and morals. In our daily lives, it might look like taking responsibility for our actions or acknowledging our mistakes while striving to do better.
As ethical investors, we also bring accountability to finance. When we choose companies to include in our portfolios, we do so very consciously. We consider their intentions and impacts, what they hope to do and how they do it.
We carry that same energy into the polls.
Holding public officials accountable is a key aspect of a healthy democracy. We need room to criticize politicians (even those we like!) when they go against our values. Doing so helps shape our political future, especially surrounding key issues like sustainability.
Accountability and criticism can get a bad reputation. But, they are not inherently negative.
Criticism and accountability are tools to aid us in developing a better future. By understanding where we, as a country, have gone wrong, we can strive for new solutions to do better. In the words of author and activist James Baldwin, “I love America more than any other country in the world and, exactly for this reason, I insist on the right to criticize her perpetually.”
Sometimes, we’re asked to save our criticism for a different time, that now is not the right moment. But, our values are not fleeting. Our ethics should not be paused to make situations more comfortable for the majority.
I often find that the times when I’m told my criticism is not appropriate are the times when it is most necessary. Holding ourselves, our politicians, and our institutions to a higher standard is not disrespectful. Demanding more from our government to protect the rights of historically oppressed people is always appropriate.
So, what can we do?
We should carefully analyze the Biden Climate Plan to understand if it is enough to promote sustainability in our country. We should demand more from our government to tackle climate change and generate jobs that protect the environment. We should recognize the impact of RBG’s legacy on Indigenous people. Doing so does not make us disrespect of our politicians’ accomplishments, but rather, to echo Baldwin, showcases our love for the country and helps us imagine a better future for all people.
With the current elections looming, now is the perfect time to start engaging in a critical analysis of politicians, especially candidates in local elections. For Minnesotans, our ballots will feature races for U.S. President, U.S. Senator, U.S. Representative, State Senator, State Representative, and Judicial seats. Getting to know candidates through resources such as Ballotpedia or MyBallotMN can help you make informed decisions on election day.
In other words, it is important to bring accountability into every space in our lives, especially our politics and our finances. These are two key areas where we can use our democratic and fiscal votes to shape the world around us for the better. As ethical investors, we can do this in many ways. Invest in social justice. Register to vote. Donate to campaigns that align with your values — especially close, local races. Engage in political conversations with friends and family, even when it is uncomfortable. To truly put our money where our mouth is, we must take every opportunity to fight for human rights, especially at home.
If you have been keeping up with our weekly post in Invested Interests social media accounts, you would have noticed us posting weekly during Hispanic Heritage Month. Throughout the month, we focused each week on a new topic related to Hispanic culture. From Hispanic recipes to well-known Hispanic artists, all to give our audience a better understanding of the Hispanic culture and the importance of celebrating Hispanic heritage month.
Build your Cultural Intelligence
While the Hispanic heritage month is coming to an end on October 15, I don’t want everything that you have learned throughout these various weeks to come to a halt. Instead, I encourage every one of you currently reading this blog to continue learning about other cultures, including the Hispanic culture. Being culturally intelligent is an essential skill to have as it could help you build meaningful relationships with people from different cultures. You start by building meaningful relationships when you actively learn about individuals’ customs, cultures, and views with an open-mind free from ethnocentrism (applying one’s culture or ethnicity as a frame of reference to judge other cultures). By not assuming or clouding your mind with your biases of certain cultures.
Cultural Diversity in the Workplace
Throughout the weeks, we celebrate the Hispanic culture, however, there are still things in this world that need to change. For starters, let’s start with cultural diversity in the workplace. Cultural diversity in the workplace has been shown to improve workplaces by increasing employees’ productivity in the workplace. Having a diverse workplace allows companies to get a broader perspective of ideas or processes. People from different cultures have different past experiences that can be beneficial by providing an overarching knowledge of possible solutions. Laboratory studies have found that diversity in the workplace has shown a positive correlation with diverse groups with their effectiveness. According to author Mazur, creativity thrives on diversity. Meaning, multicultural organizations are known to be better at problem-solving, possess a better ability to extract expanded meanings, and are more likely to display multiple perspectives and interpretation when dealing with complex issues. 35% more likely to perform at a higher level. Overall, increasing the groups’ functionality and ability to problem solve by looking at a problem with different angle points.
Our current society is filled with many individuals from various walks of life, just encompassing any cultural background you can imagine. However, this is not the circumstances in the modern age business workplace. Cultural diversity and inclusion in this day and age are essential, and it is an issue that should be resolved within the business industry.
How to make an impact!
First, you have to realize that it is easier to change the business environment from a business concerned about diversity. At Invested Interest, we identify those companies that promote fair and equitable working conditions and companies with diverse boards and workforces. Diversity in all its aspects, from cultural diversity, LGBTQA+, to women in high-level management. Companies like Accenture, Fisher & Paykel, and other companies in our diverse portfolio.