environment | April 10, 2013

How "Green" Are Your Investments? Earth Day Speaker Adria Vasil

Every time you make a purchase, you make a decision—whether it's a conscious one or not—about the environmental future of the planet. And, as Earth Day speaker Adria Vasil points out, the way you invest your money is just as important as the way you spend it. When you choose to buy a "greener" product over a less environmentally friendly one, or shop at a more socially responsible company instead of one that doesn't value sustainability, you have chosen to support a greener future. However, you aren't the only one that makes decisions with your money. Public institutions make these decisions on much bigger scale with the money you put into investment opportunities such as employee pension plans, Canada Pension, and endowment funds. Trouble is, these large funds may not be spending your money in an environmentally conscious way.

As Vasil writes in a new edition of her popular Ecoholic newspaper column, a number of people have become involved with the 350.org’s Fossil Free campaign to have their say on where their money is going—and what it's funding.  "They’re asking institutions to pull their money out of Big Oil, Coal, and Gas for one central reason," she writes, "it’s wrong to profit from wrecking the climate." Vasil explains that many institutions invest your money into fossil fuels and dirty energy sources. While Vasil notes that "administrators in charge of these investments have a legally binding fiduciary duty to make a maximum return on the money they’re given," they should also consider the long-term stability of the investments in that calculation. According to a report by the UK’s Institute and Faculty of Actuaries, Vasil notes that "the assets of pension schemes will effectively be wiped out and pensions will be reduced to negligible levels," if the carbon bubble bursts. Essentially, investment in the energy sector may be making money now—but your money could be completely gone in the future.

In the article, Vasil explains that there are options to ensure that our investments are more socially responsible and free of fossil fuel stocks. Her keynotes provide practical solutions to navigating the environmental movement. Focusing on informing her audiences, rather than preaching to them, Vasil shares a wealth of knowledge about living a healthier and more sustainable life.

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