- Tell us a little about yourself and why you became a financial advisor.
I work with Hansen’s Advisory Services, in Fayetteville. I have a passion for all things sustainability. I became a financial advisor to help people. I chose to focus on Socially Responsible Investing (SRI) because it allows my clients to invest according to their values, without having to sacrifice the returns they need to meet their future goals.
- What is Socially Responsible Investing?
At Hansen’s, we sit down with all of our clients to find out what they care about, and then we create a portfolio that is reflective of that. Companies that we include in the portfolio are screened for their Environmental, Social, Governance (ESG) performance. You can do this type of investing without having to sacrifice returns. Companies that score highly on ESG criteria have historically outperformed ones that do not.
- How and when did the Reinvestment Alliance form?
The Reinvestment Alliance started at the spring of 2018, growing out of the fossil fuel divestment movement on college campuses and participation in “Don’t Bank on the Bomb,” a project focused on divestment from financial institutions that finance nuclear weapons. It has since evolved into a community-wide, sustainable finance organization that acknowledges that if we’re going to reach sustainable development goals (SDGs), then sustainability principles need to be fully integrated into our financial system. The SDGs, which were published by the United Nations in 2015, include eliminating poverty, action on climate change, universal access to quality education, and increasing income equality.
- How do the organizations involved work together to achieve goals?
The way that our current financial system is structured undermines sustainable development. By working together to promote and grow a sustainable financial system, we’re supporting each other and our community while working towards reaching the SDGs.
- What does a sustainable financial system (SFS) look like?
It is regenerative of its financial and community resources, rather than extractive. While it can be applied to many different aspects of finance, the Alliance is focusing on banking, lending, investing, philanthropy, and spending. The SFS in Central New York has already emerged. When sustainability principles are integrated into banking and lending, the result is a community development credit union. When applied to investments, the result is socially responsible investment. With philanthropy, there are donor advised and community development funds. For spending, there are buy local programs and farm to table restaurants. We already have this infrastructure in our community.
- 5. What is the Reinvest CNY! campaign?
The Reinvest CNY! campaign is a public education and action campaign brought by the members of the Alliances to put our mission and principles to work. The goal is to transition $5 million into the sustainable financial system, and then leverage those resources to effect change locally, nationally, and globally using the Divest, Reinvest, Engage model.
- What is the Divest, Reinvest, Engage model?
You divest from the existing financial system, reinvest into the sustainable financial system, and then engage as an investor, shareholder, or consumer with the companies and organizations in that system to help them to become even more sustainable. This model applies to banking, lending and investments.
For example, if you are passionate about climate change, you could divest from fossil fuel investments in your portfolio, reinvest those assets into fossil-fuel-free investments, and then engage with those companies to further direct their corporate policies to be supportive of sustainability principles. You might also consider divesting from major banks, which finance pipelines and fracking. You could do this both in your investment portfolio and as a consumer. You divest your savings account, reinvest into a credit union, and engage with them to support their sustainability practices.
- How can people learn more and get involved?
The Reinvest CNY! campaign is a direct call to action, so those looking to get involved have three choices for how they can participate. The campaign has partnered with Cooperative Federal, a community development credit union for banking/ lending, my firm, Hansen’s Advisory Services, for investing, and the Central New York Community Foundation for philanthropy. Everyone in the community can participate by selecting which area, or areas, they’d like to focus on. To enroll, go to ReinvestCNY.com. To become a member of the alliance, you can reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.