Investing Sustainably for Individual Investors – Matching Your Investments with Your Values

You can make a difference using the money you invest

By targeting your investment dollars toward companies that do good, you can advocate for important issues and still receive competitive investment returns. Empirical evidence suggests that managers using analysis of environmental issues, as well as social issues, do just this. And investing in this more conscious way has seen impressive growth in recent years.

When evaluating companies for your investment, consider such factors as the organization’s conscious efforts toward reducing pollution and deforestation, while improving water quality, gender equality, management transparency, and attention to human rights. Companies that value the importance of these factors can avoid missteps, such as oil spill disasters, and unethical business practices.

Companies in the News

Starbucks just issued the first sustainability bond offered by a U.S. corporation. The proceeds from the bond are being used to train farmers in places such as Costa Rica and Mexico in sustainable coffee farming methods and to purchase ethically sourced coffee from suppliers around the globe.

From a U.N. resolution to eliminate plastic pollution in oceans, to a growing need to recycle waste and reuse it in product creation, recycling companies, such as Suez SA, Republic Services, and Waste Management, can benefit from the need to clean up the environment as well.

Corporate Governance

Investors are having great success creating shareholder proposals that push companies to consider environmental and social factors in their decision making. In the past year, a record 44% of environmental and social proposals have been withdrawn, according to the Institutional Shareholder Services. This signals that companies are more willing to negotiate with shareholders and commit to climate disclosure, enhance their board’s diversity, and more.

Examples of recent wins within this scope, according to Trillium Asset Management, include initiatives from Mastercard and J.M. Smucker Company. Mastercard recently committed to publishing its first sustainability report in 2018. J.M. Smucker Company also agreed to disclose the work it is doing to address the impact it has on climate change.

Trillium also worked on a shareholder proposal aimed to get Marathon Petroleum Corporation to reexamine its human rights policies. This comes following the Dakota Access Pipeline controversy and the effect it had on the rights of indigenous people.


Without knowing it, your funds could be supporting companies and causes that you don’t, such as polluters, EPA and human rights violators, and more. I encourage you to please contact me to discuss ways to align your investments with your values.

Advisory services offered through Sikich Financial, an SEC Registered Investment Advisor.

Investors should carefully consider investment objectives, risks, charges and expenses. This and other important information is contained in the fund prospectuses and summary prospectuses, which can be obtained from a financial professional and should be read carefully before investing.  This information is intended to highlight issues and should not be considered advice, an endorsement or a recommendation.

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