Each week, the Erb Institute shares a collection of news and updates regarding business sustainability. This month, the Erb Institute blog and social media are focusing on an emerging industry, impact investing. Impact investments are investments made into companies, organizations and funds with the goal of generating financial returns as well as social and environmental impact.

Sustainable Business News – 2/24/2018 – 3/2/2018

Impact Investing

Why it’s so hard to invest with a social conscience

New York Times

“Peer under the hood of your mutual fund or portfolio of index investments. If you’re like most people, you’ll find that you own shares of at least a few companies that make you squeamish. Perhaps you no longer wish to make money when Equifax collects and sells your data, especially when it has proved that it can’t do so safely. Or perhaps you have soured on big banks that treat customers poorly.

Use these 10 ESG factors to avoid riskiest investments in 2018

Think Advisor

3. Energy Demand and Greenhouse Gas Emissions: Semiconductor Industry

Investors may not view this industry as a major air polluter or consumer of vast amounts of energy but they should, especially among companies operating in Asia where 45% of chip production takes place, according to Sustainalytics.

Many of those companies will face energy supply challenges as more Asia countries adopt greenhouse gas emission regulations.”

Here’s how companies can have both values and profits


“As far back as 1998, a study commissioned by the U.K.-based Cooperative Wholesale Services found that 60 percent of retail food customers, even in the absence of an organized boycott, have avoided a shop or product they associated with unethical behavior. A 1999 survey of consumers in 23 countries by Environics International, in cooperation with the Prince of Wales Business Leaders Forum and the Conference Board, found that 40 percent of consumers had considered punishing a company based on its social actions, and nearly 20 percent actually had avoided a company’s products because of its social actions.

Ontario, Canada tries out impact investment with a local bent and an experimental approach


“If you’re based in Ontario, Canada, this one’s particularly for you: a new impact investing fund focused on loans to social and environmental enterprises in Southwestern Ontario.

But it’s also a sign of growing interest in not just impact investing, but also doing such investing with a local focus and an experimental approach.”

Quantitative trends in corporate responsibility reporting

The Financial

“Human rights is firmly on the agenda as a global business issue. A clear majority of CR reports now acknowledge the issue of human rights: around three quarters of the N100 (73 percent) and nine out of ten (90 percent) in the G250, according to KPMG survey results.

However, the lack of a public human rights policy at many companies suggests there is still work to do, and only a minority of businesses are yet prepared to align themselves publicly with the UN Guiding Principles on Business & Human Rights.”

#MeToo spurs investors to move money to companies that support women

Yahoo Finance

“Investment industry insiders say they’ve fielded increased interest from clients about putting their money toward supporting investments focused on women’s issues. In 2016, less than half of companies in the S&P 100 had at least 25 percent women on their boards. People interested in social-impact funds need to make sure they do their due diligence as they would for any investment.”

B Corp analysis reveals purpose-led businesses grow 28 times faster than national average

Sustainable Brands

“New research from B Corp, a network of purpose-driven companies using business as a force for good, has revealed that certified B Corps in the UK are growing 28 times faster than the national economic growth of 0.5 percent.

“The word ‘revolution’ is overused these days — but with the range and caliber of businesses that are part of the B Corp movement, who are so committed to using their business as a force for good, it’s hard to deny that meaningful change is underway,” said Katie Hill, Executive Director of B Lab UK.”

New women-led RIA to focus on impact investing: portfolio products

Think Advisor

“Nia Impact Capital, a women-led registered investment advisor, launched with the focus of helping wealth management professionals meet the growing demand for impact investing solutions.

The new firm was founded by impact investor Kristin Hull, who will act as CEO and chief investment officer.

‘Nia Impact Capital is the next step in our evolution and is inspired by our mission to create world-class impact investing solutions with an emphasis on women,” Hull said in a statement. “Our team is focused on supporting wealth professionals to meet the growing interest from their clients to align their wealth and their values.'”Do you want to contribute to the conversation? Tweet us @erbinstitute!