This Sunday is Earth Day.
These days, environmental causes have become polarizing issues that are frequently exploited and oversimplified to win political points. While we may not all agree as to what problems should be the highest priorities, we virtually all prefer that our air and water be clean and that animals like rhinos, whooping cranes, and even blind salamanders are around for our grandkids to see. We also generally agree that making money is a good thing.
Earth Day was first observed in 1970, also the year that saw the creation of the US Environmental Protection Agency, and the passage of the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Endangered Species Acts. What may be most surprising to many is that these pieces of legislation were not always as divisive as they appear today. For example, the Clean Air Act passed the Senate without a single nay vote, and while the Democrats controlled both houses, the President that signed the bills into law was a Republican.
As citizens, we certainly can express our political preferences around sustainability through the ballot box. But growing interest in our impact on the planet increasingly sparks questions about whether investors can integrate their values around sustainability with their investment goals and, if so, how?