Green Investing – Part 1: Help The Planet And Help Yourself


One of the hot topics in investment circles is green investing. But what is green investing really? It can range from investment in green buildings and development projects, to specialized investment funds, to investments you’ve selected yourself that meet your requirements. Let’s take a brief look at each approach.

Green Buildings and Projects

An easy way for investors to “go green” is to augment their portfolio with green buildings. For example, investors are hot on “micro-apartments” because of their reduced footprint and their appeal to young, urban renters. CoStar finds that:

“...especially since the recession, that many of those in the Millennial/Y Generation favor smaller, more affordable apartments or condominiums near the downtown urban core.”

So for investors already comfortable with multifamily in their portfolio, a move toward green investing is really quite easy.

Specialized Green Investing Funds

With the popularity of green investing, it comes as no surprise that there are hundreds if not thousands of investment funds offering at least some level of “green”.

But what might surprise you is that there is an organization dedicated to sustainable and responsible investments, the Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment (USSIF), and that they list no less than 145 funds certified as meeting their standards. An even greater surprise is when you find out that some funds are nearly 20 years old and have averaged double digit performance, even through the recession.

Green Investing On Your Own

Creating your own portfolio of green investments takes some time, but can be very rewarding. And, even though you’re striking out on your own, there are some signposts along the way. Many investors use what are called the ESG criteria: “environmental”, “social”, and “governance”, to evaluate prospective investments.

Matthew W. Patsky, chief executive of Trillium Asset Management, quoted in the New York Times, put it this way:

"...look at how companies in similar sectors compare.”

He drew a contrast between Starbucks (one of his client’s investments, and a firm known for treating its employees well) and McDonald’s, which does not offer health care benefits for part-time workers.

Ask The Professionals

Green investing is nothing new to us. In fact, our firm began with agricultural investments in California’s Central Valley nearly ninety years ago. Today our experts create and preserve clients’ wealth through investments in commercial and industrial real estate, agriculture, mineral rights, and many other areas. Call today to get started.

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