By Casey Verbeck, Director, Business Development
It’s hard not to be awed by the natural splendor of the Rockies, or for that matter, the zeal with which Coloradans are now embracing impact investing.
Over the past few years, the Mile High City, always known for its progressive thinking about the environment, has emerged as a hotbed of impact investing.
The proof points are not only the growing interest we see in Veris’ Boulder office, but also by the number of impact investing events taking place here. In fact, there will be at least four important gatherings this year. They include the following:
- Investing for Impact Part II – Aligning Local Capital to Build Community Wealth on February 11th. Veris is hosting with PAX World Investments and Impact HUB Boulder. The event is sold out with 125 people expected.
- Colorado Impact Days, March 2-4. This event is part of the Colorado Impact Initiative whose goal is to raise $100 million to help fund impact-minded entrepreneurs.
- Impact/SRI & ESG, Sept. 19. Financial Advisor IQ and Private Wealth will again by hosting the 5th Annual Impact/SRI & ESG summit in Denver.
- SRI Conference, Nov. 9-11. The 27th Annual SRI Conference has come back to Denver and will bring together thought leaders to discuss impact investing solutions, financial products and key industry topics.
What’s Driving the Interest?
From our vantage point, we see at least three major drivers accelerating the interest in impact investing.
First, Millennials, those born between the early 1980s to early 2000s – are passionate about impact investing. They immediately see the benefit of aligning their values and their wealth, whether it is community wealth building, creating solutions to global warming, sustainable agriculture, or gender lens investing.
Increasingly, Millennials are having more influence on the investment decisions of their parents and grandparents. As a result, a growing number of Baby Boomers are also beginning to understand the power of impact investing.
This important shift is not only taking place in Denver, but across the country. Millennials, among other demographics, are re-shaping how people think about managing their wealth. It’s very exciting to see this new wave of enthusiasm for having impact with your wealth.
Foundations Making A Difference
Second, foundations are recognizing, they also can create impact with their portfolios. They have the opportunity to further their mission by aligning their endowments with their mission, expanding their programmatic granting.
In talking to foundations in Colorado, I have found many are surprised (or disappointed) to learn their capital does not support sustainability. Too much capital is invested in the fossil fuel economy or simply doesn’t factor social and environmental impact into investment decision-making.
Foundations and other institutional investors increasingly realize by making impact investing a priority, they can influence the behavior of companies and invest in solutions to create a more sustainable world.
Smarter Way To Invest
Finally, more savvy investors are realizing the implications of having exposure to fossil fuels or companies not considering social and environment factors in their business planning. These investors increasingly understand that companies focused on sustainable solutions in their operations, product and services are creating the best ideas for today and tomorrow.
The conversation is shifting, and today, being a responsible investor means investing in companies that are mindful of all the environmental and social impacts of their operations.
The good news is more investments are available now than ever before to achieve these objectives. The key is making the commitment to learn about impact investing approaches and adapting your investment strategy to align your values with smart decisions.
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The bottom line is that Coloradans are setting a great example with their deepening interest in impact investing. It’s incredibly motivating to be part of that movement.