As part of our continued effort to move the financial services industry in a more sustainable direction, I had the pleasure of participating in eMoney’s “That Makes Cents” podcast. eMoney is our financial planning & client portal partner, and I was proud to collaborate with them in our shared mission to bring financial advice into […]
One of the missions of our firm is to encourage other financial advisors to adopt Sustainable, Responsible and Impact Investing techniques. In pursuit of this goal, I recently had the opportunity to go on the “Untangling Fintech” podcast hosted by Stathis Partners, a firm focused on delivering market intelligence to advisors and executives working at banks and credit unions. As I very rarely have the opportunity to speak with these types of advisors, I jumped at the opportunity to get the message of Sustainable Investing out to this group.
This conversation went on for a while, and it got a bit technical (it is aimed at other financial advisors after all), but we had a LOT of fun recording it, and if you’re looking for a way to get to know me and the way our firm approaches ESG data, this is an excellent way to do it. You’ll also hear from our partners at YourStake.org, who sponsored the podcast, and get to know why we’ve chosen to work with them.
You can listen to the podcast here, or where ever you get your podcasts these days.
Scott Stathis and Bob Mittel
- Gabe Rissman – Co-Founder, YourStake
- Patrick Reed – Co-Founder YourStake
- Sean Meighan – Managing Director, Advisory Services, Atria Wealth Solutions
- Max Mintz – Financial Planner, Common Interests
- Keith Burger – National Sales Director, formally AIG now Luma Technologies
Band: A Rusty Something (Nick Simpson)
These are the films from the 2020 ESG Film Festival, presented on Dec 3rd. From 508 entries, these 12 films were selected to showcase the power of ESG and Impact, and inspire audiences around the world to act. Every action we take has power.
As a member of the advisory board for this event, I helped to judge the film festival we presented at the event. We’re proud to present the films we selected below. Films denoted with Honorable Mention were not screened live due to time constraints, but were deemed on merit worthy of inclusion here.
Flowers in the River This film won both the Judges Best Film & Audience Choice awards!
Directed by: Tiffany Steeves & Andrea Chung – United States. Ankit Agarwal, founder of Phool, shares the story of the flower recycling business he created and the impact it is having on the Ganges River in India
Making of ‘Flowers in the River’
The filmmakers behind the documentary that won both of the awards at the 2020 ESG Film Festival share where the story idea came from, how they made the film, and a valuable life lesson learned along the way.
Seeding the Sea
Directed by Sarah Redmond & Caroline Almy – United States.
Off the coast of Belize, seaweed farming is a more sustainable alternative than fishing. Lowell Godfrey grew up there, and now owns his own seaweed farm that he hopes will inspire other fishermen
The Voice Of The Voiceless
Directed by Dalton Tokarcyzk – United States.
Indie rapper Marcel “FloStorm” Jones reflects on his experiences as a protestor who was arrested during the George Floyd-inspired protests during the late spring of 2020
Directed by Teymour Ghaderi – Islamic Republic of Iran.
In the Sistan and Baluchestan provinces of Iran water is scarce. However, where there is a Gando, an Iranian crocodile, there is water. The girls who fetch it risk life and limb.
Dry Tears of the Aral
Directed by Danila Volkov – Russian Federation.
The shrinking of the Aral sea over the last 60 years is the ‘most staggering disaster of the twentieth century,’ (UNDP) and has turned the lake into a toxic salt plain. Mr. Kamalov fights for the lake.
Waste Warriors of Bangalore
Directed by Goutham Varrier – India.
The people who work tirelessly to keep Indian cities clean often lead a very difficult life, with poor income, and no social security. Indha Mahoor and the NGO Hasiru Dala want to change that
Directed by Lexie Chu – United States.
A look back on the devastating 2018 Southern California fires through the eyes of animal rescuers.
Be Bold and Win the Dream
Directed by Novera Hasan Nikkon – Bangladesh.
A group of young girls in one of the most remote villages of the northern region of Bangladesh organized under the banner of a football team to stand against the gender discrimination present in their society
Iceberg Licking Society
Directed by Nathan Ceddia – Iceland. *Honorable Mention
A never before seen look into the mysterious world of the Iceberg Licking Society as the association faces iceberg-licking’s greatest threat: global warming
90 Minutes Without Meat
Directed by Dan Botterill – United Kingdom. *Honorable Mention
Football club Forest Green Rovers are known for being the world’s first carbon-neutral football club, as well as only serving plant-based fare during matches.
What About My People?
Directed by Tiffany Steeves – United States. *Honorable Mention.
Lerang Selolwane, co-CEO of Lucient Engineering in Botswana, shares his personal journey and vision for his country.
Directed by Peter Okojie – Nigeria. *Honorable Mention
The short story of a young man that came from the northern part of Nigeria and migrated to Lagos state, one of the fastest growing cities in Africa, for a better future.
As a member of the advisory board for the InvestmentNews ESG & Impact Forum, I helped to judge the film festival we presented at the event. We’re proud to present the films we selected below.
The Bee Rescuer This film won the Judges Choice award!
Directed by: Bidit Roy. Amit Godse, otherwise known as The Bee Man, founded a social enterprise, Bee Basket, which rescues bee colonies from urban areas.
I have a personal connection to this one. My family keeps bees in partnership with friends who live in Lancaster County, PA. We’ve lost a number of Bee Hives over the years for various reasons, and bee conservation is a subject near and dear to my heart.
The Story of TRU Colors This film won the Audience’s Choice award!
Directed by: Meagen Verdi & Akeem Grady. How one company is driving change in Wilmington, NC by hiring a workforce composed of only active gang members.
After this film was shown, we had the privilege of hearing from the filmmakers and one of the gang members in this film. It was one of the most powerful experiences I’ve had, and it reinforced to me the impact that investments can make. The Audience Choice award was well deserved!
Directed by: Michael Schmidt-Olsen. Poko, a farmer in northern Ghana, learns new farming techniques to combat the devastating droughts and brushfires caused by climate change that are ravaging the region.
Directed by: Stephen Lamb. ESG investing strategies are a way to align values with investments, but don’t necessarily effect change. A look inside the powerful force of shareholder activism.
Directed by: Mitra K. Bolouri Rasmussen. A look inside a small Danish island that is run 100% with renewable energy.
Directed by: Robin Pogorzelski. An army veteran from Rwanda who lost his leg to the civil war now makes his living by serving others.
BIOME – Harvesting Rain
Directed by: Travelling Tripod Films. This film showcases the positive impact of BIOME Environmental Trusts’ work in government schools struggling with water availability in rural Bangalore, Karnataka, India. The project is funded by Wipro Cares.
Directed by: Stephen Lamb. An exploration of impact enterprise. Can businesses succeed with the dual motives of profit and purpose?
Grow Your House
Directed by: Andrés Klimek & Sergio Donis. This film shows how bamboo can be used to construct houses in a low-cost and dignified way for people living in poverty.
The Soapmakers of Samabogo
Directed by: Hannah Stanton-Jones & Tadg O’Keeffe. In the southern plains of Mali, a group of intrepid women entrepreneurs has come together to form a collective of soapmakers, enhancing the lives of themselves and their families.
Igniting Impact Trailer
Directed by: Akira Chan. Igniting Impact is a short documentary featuring entrepreneurs who are creating impact by aligning with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
As part of the InvestmentNews ESG & Impact Forum, Max was selected as one of 3 advisors who were asked to share some advice with other Financial Advisors who are considering using ESG Analysis in their practices. Hear from Max and his colleagues here:
We’ll have more on this event in the coming days. Check back soon!
I’m very pleased to announce that my partner Max will be speaking at the inaugural InvestmentNews ESG & Impact Forum on Dec. 5 at the United Nations.
While we specialize in Sustainable, Responsible and Impact investing for our clients, we also believe that we have a responsibility to educate and help other advisors adopt these techniques. That’s why Max has agreed to be on the advisory board for this event and give his time to speak. The panel he’s on will be moderated by Jon Hale of Morningstar (read his blog here), and will feature Colleen Denzler of Smith Capital Investors and Marguerita Cheng, the CEO of Blue Ocean Global Wealth.
Here’s what they will discuss:
As the demand for impact investment opportunities continues to grow, so does the increased responsibility on advisers to develop stronger investor education programs, increase transparency and adopt more precisely-defined metrics for measuring impact. ESG and impact investors, primarily motivated by moving the needle on specific environmental, social and governance issues, while also pursuing financial returns are increasingly flexing their purchasing power with advisers. It’s important therefore for investment advisers to understand that each client has views that are unique and diverse, requiring flexibility and customization to support each client’s goals. This panel will explore best in practice communication strategies for a more meaningful and effective client engagement experience.
As you can see, this conference is focused on Financial Advisors and other financial professionals. Click Here to register. And when you use code ESGFRIEND you can get a $50 discount. Please feel free to share this using the links below if you know anyone who would be interested in attending, and use the hashtag #INimpact so InvestmentNews knows you’re coming!
Ahead of next week’s United Nations Climate Action Summit, a record 515 institutional investors managing $35 trillion in assets urged governments worldwide to step up action to tackle climate change and achieve the Paris Agreement’s goals.
The Global Investor Statement to Governments on Climate Change, developed by the seven Founding Partners of The Investor Agenda, calls on governments to phase out thermal coal power worldwide, put a meaningful price on carbon pollution, end government subsidies for fossil fuels, and update and strengthen nationally-determined contributions to meet the emissions reduction
goal of the Paris Agreement no later than 2020.
“The global shift to clean energy is underway, but much more needs to be done by governments to accelerate the low carbon transition and to improve the resilience of our economy, society and
the financial system to climate risks,” the investors wrote. They warned the current government commitments leave an “ambition gap” that will not prevent global average temperature from rising
beyond the 1.5 degree threshold that scientists warn could trigger catastrophic and irreversible effects of climate change.
The investors’ call to action published today comes as UN Secretary-General António Guterres is asking all leaders, from governments and the private sector, to present plans – at the UN Climate Action Summit on September 23 or at the latest by December 2020 – to cut greenhouse gas emissions 45% by 2030 and reach carbon neutrality by 2050. “I am also asking all investors to scale up green ventures, to increase lending for low-carbon solutions and to stop, in effect, financing pollution,” Secretary-General António Guterres said at a preparatory meeting for the
Signing the Global Investor Statement to Governments on Climate Change is an action item in the Policy Advocacy focus area of the The Investor Agenda. Launched in September 2018 by seven Founding Partners — Asia Investor Group on Climate Change, CDP, Ceres, Investor Group on Climate Change, Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change, Principles for Responsible Investment and UNEP Finance Initiative — The Investor Agenda is a collaborative initiative that aims to accelerate and scale up the investor actions worldwide that are critical to tackling climate change and achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement with the aim of keeping global average temperature rise to no more than 1.5-degrees Celsius. It provides investors with a set of actions
that they can take in four key focus areas: Investment, Corporate Engagement, Investor Disclosure and Policy Advocacy.
The Founding Partners also announced today the release of The Investor Agenda Annual Progress Report, which found that nearly 1,200 investors have taken action in one or more of the focus areas of The Investor Agenda. More than 750 investors have engaged with or directly influenced portfolio companies to act on climate change, more than 400 investors have stepped up their own disclosure on climate change, and more than 260 have set a climate target.
“Investors are stepping up their response to climate change and increasingly aligning their investment with the goals of the Paris Agreement,” said Rebecca Mikula-Wright, Director, Asia Investor Group on Climate Change (AIGCC). “The Investor Agenda has a pivotal role to play as a platform for supporting investors to lead ambition and catalyse sustainable investment, whilepromoting engagement across all regions and jurisdictions.”
“The Investor Agenda provides an unprecedented global forum for investors to accelerate action on climate change and drive transformation of capital markets to deliver a 1.5-degrees Celsius economy. To do that investors need to take further action themselves, but also require stronger incentives from governments” said Paul Simpson, CDP CEO.
“The global reach and potential impact of The Investor Agenda and the global collaboration of the seven organizations are quite extraordinary,” noted Mindy Lubber, Ceres CEO and President. “With the immense power and influence that investors hold in our global economy, they have a tremendous opportunity and responsibility to act at the urgent pace and scale required to keep average global temperature rise to no more than 1.5-degrees Celsius.”
“By working with our peers globally and across the regions, we can scale up ambition and action to tackle climate change and deliver on the promise of the Paris Agreement,” said Emma Herd, Chief Executive Officer, Investor Group on Climate Change (IGCC). “Collaboration is the key to success, and investors must play our part. The Investor Agenda is the platform we need to drive real investor action at this crucial point in time.”
Climate change poses an unprecedented threat to the global economy,” said Stephanie Pfeifer, CEO of the Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change (IIGCC). “Investors representing nearly half the world’s invested capital are sending a clear message that they need to see far greater ambition from governments in addressing the climate crisis. A considerable number of countries have already committed to delivering net zero emission economies by 2050. Investors are asking that others now follow their lead.”
“The Investor Agenda has a critical role to play in compelling investors to act and bring about lasting change around climate,” said Fiona Reynolds, CEO of Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI). “Ambition and meaningful action from governments, business and the financial sector is imperative to curb the current trajectory of global warming. These groups must act now to curb the climate emergency the world is facing by reaching the goals of the Paris Agreement to realise 1.5-degrees Celsius.”
“There is a growing urgency for investors and corporations to act on climate change goals. As of today, temperatures have risen 1-degree Celsius above pre-industrial levels,” said Eric Usher, Head of UNEP Finance Initiative. “To keep the rise to within 1.5-degrees Celsius globally, leadership from within the investor community will be key. The Investor Agenda is one critical platform in supporting investors in their individual actions.”
About The Investor Agenda
The Investor Agenda is a collaborative initiative to accelerate and scale up the investor actions that are critical to tackling climate change and achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement with the aim of keeping average global temperature rise to no more than 1.5-degrees Celsius. It provides investors with a set of actions that they can take in four key focus areas: Investment, Corporate Engagement, Investor Disclosure and Policy Advocacy. It has been developed by seven Founding Partners: Asia Investor Group on Climate Change, CDP, Ceres, Investor Group on Climate Change, Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change, Principles for Responsible Investment and UNEP Finance Initiative. Visit www.TheInvestorAgenda.org for more information.
Bob was interviewed by an old friend on a new podcast, Changing the Rules, which was started with the understanding that “stress caused by changing life situations can be reduced if you have a plan.” Bob tells the story of how and why Common Interests was founded, how and why he picked our name, and the values our firm was founded on. The interview covers how we work with our clients, the type of work we do, and how we think about Financial Planning (among many other topics).
Bob’s interview starts at 11:17 in! Give it a listen below, or on Apple Podcasts.
And check out the rest of the Changing The Rules Podcast here.
We are excited to announce our collaboration with the United Nations and InvesmentNews to host the first Impact Forum on December 4-5, 2019 in New York City.
The vision for this event is huge. On Day One: A film festival will share the stories and stoke the inspiration. The next day, thought-leaders and experts will share strategies and insight for turning inspiration into impact investing action. We hope you will join us!
This event started with a film: Impact, a documentary. This film is the model, where we show the impact our investment dollars can have on the world. Now we want to take this global and highlight a story for each of the Sustainable Development Goals. Everyone we’ve shown the first film to has had a personal connection to the stories, and through this project we hope to show how, no matter which goal is most important to you, your investments can make a difference.
I’m proud to serve on the advisory board for this event! We have assembled a team of specialists in Impact Investing to build a world class event, but we need your help.
To pull this off, we need a community of ambassadors who want to help the financial advice industry make good investments that also make the world a better place.
Here’s how you can help:
We are looking for filmmakers, stories, attendees, sponsors, speakers and advocates. Fill out this short form if you would like to be involved with the event. Our partners at ImpactAssets (our high-impact Donor Advised Fund) are also helping us organize film ideas. They’ve created this form to accept submissions.
I serve as the Treasurer of the Alliance for NJ Environmental Education, which recently completed its’ annual winter conference. Here are some highlights, which speak to the reasons I’m involved with this fantastic organization. This year’s keynote speakers were students from around the state who inspired us with their passion for Environmental and Social justice. Enjoy (and see if you can spot Bob’s very brief cameo)!