Want to take personal climate action? Consider your investment strategies.

Many people in our community are working hard to make their daily lives more sustainable and, in the process, to reduce their personal carbon footprints. Some reduce or eliminate meat from their diets. Others turn to active transportation—cycling or walking—or transit rather than taking the car out of the garage. Some buy an electric vehicle. Others add insulation to their houses or upgrade their windows. Yet others ensure that they compost regularly and reduce their use of plastics and other products that often have toxic residues. Some even lower the thermostat in the winter and don sweaters and warmer clothing when inside.

All of these actions can have profound impacts on the energy use of individuals—and, in many instances, save money in the process. What is not so easy, however, is for individuals to influence the behaviour of companies and corporations. Many of us simply feel that doing so is out of our reach.

However, it turns out that, for people who have the wherewithal to invest some of their money, this is no longer true. Investors can now have a profound impact on various businesses by directing their investments away from companies that either pollute or generate major emissions from their activities—fossil fuel and pipeline companies, particularly—toward companies that are either moving toward more sustainable practices or are actually producing products that will be used as Canada moves toward reducing its emissions in order to meet its 2030 targets.

Corporations that are based on fossil fuel consumption are increasingly being warned by large investment companies that their being viewed as safe, profitable investment targets is being jeopardized by their continued threat to the environment and to the climate crisis. At the same time, companies that are moving to green energy solutions are being hailed as the companies of the future and therefore good choices for investors who want to make profits from their money.

For example, in late 2020, “New York State’s pension fund, one of the world’s largest and most influential investors, will drop many of its fossil fuel stocks in the next five years and sell its shares in other companies that contribute to global warming by 2040 . . . . New York’s fund, the New York State Common Retirement Fund, is committing to sell its investments in any oil, gas, oil-services and pipeline companies that do not have clear plans to abandon the fossil fuel business.”

So how does one learn how to leverage personal investments to help the move toward a greener future for our planet? That’s where an upcoming Sustainable Orillia’s webinar comes in.  On Thursday, September 30th, from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., Simcoe area investment advisor Jackie Ramler will present “Sustainable Investing—Aligning Your Investments with Your Principles,” a free webinar for all investors interested in the topic. Jackie is a dedicated, passionate, and highly respected leader in the financial advisor industry who specializes in designing and evaluating investment portfolios by looking closely at environmental, social and corporate governance issues, and focusing on greener, more sustainable companies. 

Jackie will bring her expertise to this engaging and interactive session as your host. Those who want to ensure their investments are supporting companies that are socially and environmentally “progressive”—and profitable—should sign up to hear from, and talk with, Jackie.

To register for this free webinar, go to www.sustainableorillia.ca/webinars. While on the website, check out “Living Off the Grid,” September 28, 7-8 p.m. and “Funding your Retrofits,” September 29, 4-5 p.m.—also coming up in the final week of Sustainable Orillia Month.

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