Investing for Sustainable Impact

In colonial America, Quakers steered away from investments that might benefit the slave trade. In the mid-20th century, a number of mutual funds screened against “sin stocks” such as tobacco, alcohol and gambling. Sustainable investing criteria expanded with the social and cultural upheavals of the 1960s and 1970s as broad numbers of people focused on civil rights, environmental, feminist and other human rights issues. It turned a deeper green in the aftermath of environmental disasters in Bhopal, India, and the Exxon Valdez oil spill.

Responsible investors recognize that the ways we direct investment capital can have a positive or negative impact on our communities and the lives of people around the globe. Financial advisors with sustainable, responsible and impact (SRI) investing expertise assist clients with investing in companies with attractive profit potential in nine inextricably linked areas that create value for both shareholders and society as a whole: clean energy; fresh water; healthy food; climate; minimal waste; alleviated poverty; justice; peace and security; and human health.

Dollars invested using SRI criteria have increased from $639 billion in 1995 to $8.72 trillion in 2016. The options to invest socially are available to almost every investor, institution and business, including within retirement plans.

Investors that want to participate in SRI (also called ESG, impact, values-based, sustainable and green investing) should seek the expertise of an experienced SRI financial advisor.

Catherine “Katie” Scheib is a practicing financial advisor specializing in socially responsible investing with Progressive Asset Management-Harrisburg, located in Harrisburg. For more information, call 717-480-2751, email or visit

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