Thursday, November 8, 2012

Guidelines for Green and Sustainable Investments


Sustainable Development & Planning         
   
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Basic Guidelines for Environmental and Social Responsible Investing/
Principles for Green and Sustainable Investments


The following guidelines or principles will give you the basics for investing in a responsible and sustainable manner:

1.     Use your investment power to change the world for the better.

2.     Make sure the companies you invest on care for the environment and are responsible for the impact of their actions by:
Minimizing air pollution, by minimizing generation of greenhouse gas emissions, promoting energy efficiency, minimizing use of non-renewable resources, and promoting renewable sources of energy
Not polluting water, not causing deforestation, not causing erosion, not discharging chemicals in rivers, streams and the ocean, not contaminating  the maritime food chain by minimizing use and production of polymer made plastics
Not polluting the soil, not using  hazardous herbicides and insecticides
Considering the life-cycle of products, taking  responsibility for their products packaging and recycling, or producing  goods that can be fully biodegradable and return to ashes once no longer have a useful life.
Being selective of their supply chain, by evaluating the policies and practices of the companies that provide parts, services and labor

3.     Make sure the companies you invest on care about the social impacts of their actions, and:
Do not engage in human trafficking
Do not exploit children
Promote from within
Consider their human capital their best asset
Promote equal pay for men and women
Provide basic health care benefits
Promote flexible work hours for women AMAP
Respect human rights
Support education and participate in the community
Promote peace

4.     They consider the impact of their economic actions on people and the environment.

5.    Make sure you review the Sustainability Report of companies you invest on, as well as their environmental and social governance- policies and procedures, not only their Profit Statements. 

6.     Companies that measure the impacts of their actions on the environment and on people have shown to be more sustainable and ultimately successful than their counterparts.  Even the Iroquois American Indians when making important decisions first measured the impact of their actions up to the 7th generation.

Some practical tips: Watch CERES video for a background on this subject: http://www.ceres.org/about-us

DefinitionsSustainability as I define it is to reach a balance of physical, social and economic demands now and over time.  Basically, every company that evaluates its actions to minimize and prevent negative impacts on the environment (physical) and on people (social) now, and overtime is in my opinion a sustainable company- a company worth investing on.  
The word “green” is not necessarily the same as sustainable, as green is mostly related to the environmental footprint a product or company leaves on this planet; it has not to do with social impacts.  Instead, sustainability is broader and means to sustain, to help the planet to sustain human life forever, for this when we make important decisions we strive to reach a balance of planet, people, and prosperity.  See Patrizia’s Sustainability Synthesis for making sustainable decisions. www.patriziamaterassi.com

By Patrizia Materassi, November 7, 2012

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