Just what is sustainable investing? Well, sustainable means able to be maintained. When we talk about a sustainable economy or a sustainable community, we mean the ability to fulfill the needs of the present, without compromising the needs of the future. Sustainable investing speaks to the issue of using our savings and investment dollars to support only those companies and organizations that can sustain their current business model, without compromising their ability or that of others to fulfill their own needs in the future. It encompasses social welfare, protection of the environment, efficient use of natural resources, and economic well-being. By its very nature, sustainable investing takes the long view, rather than the short term view predominant in the present ‘casino’ nature of the markets.
Sustainable investing also incorporates the principles found in an alphabet soup of similar investment approaches, like SRI, ESG, CSR, PRI, II, etc. What all of these share is a view that by considering all of the costs and benefits, internal and external, to all stakeholders for both the present and the future, a more clear picture emerges of the investments and better choices can be made as to which best fulfill the goals and values of the investor.