The Bottom Line

By Elsa Pau
Publisher and Editor-in-Chief

Published in BENCHMARK June 2013, Vol.11 No.4

Twenty years ago, investing was about the bottom line. Investors wanted a good return and cared little about what methods were used to get there. Few people were asking the tough questions about the environment, human rights or community impact.

The wake-up calls for change came the hard way. Investors had to experience the hardships of Enron, a warming earth and the financial tsunami to learn that taking a passive approach to the environmental, social and corporate governance issues of companies needed to change.

Fortunately, today people are better versed in these issues and are more willing not only to actively choose companies that have corporate governance policies they believe in, but also to request that companies who have deficient policies change.

I am proud to say that this month’s issue is dedicated to sustainable investing because it fuses two of my passions: investing and social good.

This issue highlights most of the major issues related to sustainable investing and provides some useful tips for investors seeking to take a more active role in their portfolios. It proves that companies don’t have to be the “big bad wolf” to make money. They can generate considerable profits for shareholders while employing ethical practices in their relationships with employees, the environment and the communities where they reside.

As we are mid-way through the year, I challenge you to look beyond the bottom line. Think about your portfolio, seek out the companies you are invested in and determine whether they have environmental, social and corporate governance policies. Review their business practices and ask yourself if their actions are in line with your personal values.

If not, determine whether you can find the same results with a more “responsible” company. Such actions will help you to be more purposeful in your investment strategy, which causes everyone in the chain – your fund manager, the CEO, the employees – to be more purposeful in their actions. By holding each other accountable, we can all create better business practices.

Safe investing,
Elsa Pau
Publisher and Editor-in-Chief