Earth Day: Time to 'Go Green' with Your Investments?

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Over the past several weeks, many of us have been working from home in response to the social distancing necessitated by the coronavirus. Nonetheless, we still have opportunities to get outside and enjoy Mother Nature. And now, with the 50th anniversary of Earth Day being celebrated on April 22, it’s important to appreciate the need to protect our environment. 

Of course, you can do so in many ways – including the way you invest. 

Some investors are supporting the environment through "sustainable" investing, which is often called ESG (environmental, social and corporate governance) investing. In general, it refers to investments in businesses whose products and services are considered favorable to the physical environment (such as companies that produce renewable energy or that act to reduce their own carbon footprints) or the social environment (such as firms that follow ethical business practices or pursue important societal goals, such as inclusion and pay equity). ESG investing may also screen out investments in companies that produce products some people find objectionable. 

ESG investing has become popular in recent years, and not just with individuals; major institutional investors now pursue sustainability because they think it's profitable – and plenty of facts bear that out. A growing body of academic research has found a positive relationship between corporate financial performance – that is, a company's profitability – and ESG criteria. 

So, although you might initially be attracted to sustainable investments because they align with your personal values, or because you want to hold companies to higher standards of corporate citizenship, it turns out that you can do well by doing good. Keep in mind, though, that sustainability, like any other criteria, can't guarantee success or prevent losses. 

In any case, be aware that sustainable investing approaches can vary significantly, so you need to determine how a particular sustainable investment, or class of investments, can align with your values and fit into your overall portfolio. Specifically, how will a sustainable investment meet your needs for diversification? 

For example, if you desire total control over how your money is invested, you might want to invest in a basket of individual stocks from the companies you wish to support. But if you want to achieve greater diversification, plus receive the benefits of professional management, you might want to invest in sustainable mutual funds. Be aware, though, that even though they may not market themselves as "sustainable," many more mutual funds do incorporate sustainability criteria into their investment processes. You also might consider exchange-traded funds (ETFs), which own a variety of investments, similar to regular mutual funds, but trade like stocks. ETFs often track particular indexes, so an ETF with a sustainable focus might track an index including companies that have been screened for social responsibility. 

Make sure you understand the fundamentals of any sustainable investment you're considering, as well as whether it can help you work toward your long-term goals. But by "going green" with some of your investments, you can help keep the spirit of Earth Day alive every day of the year.

This article was written by Edward Jones for use by your local Edward Jones financial advisor. Courtesy of Rob Adams, 71 Main Street, North Adams, MA 01247, 413-664-9253.. Edward Jones, its employees and financial advisors cannot provide tax or legal advice. You should consult your attorney or qualified tax advisor regarding your situation. For more information, see EdwardJones.com.

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Letter: Former Superintendent Backs Macksey for Mayor

Letter to the Editor

To the Editor:

I write this letter in support of Jennifer Macksey for the position of mayor of North Adams. During my tenure as superintendent of schools, I had the opportunity to work with Jen in a number of critical areas. Going through my archived notes I came across several examples of her skills in dealing with a variety of complex and major issues. The key issues she dealt with included establishing student activity accounts, pay dates for employees, and cherry sheet issues. Jen was there to help us set up procedures for the safety of students and staff.

Her expertise in finance was invaluable when issues arose concerning funding related to the Greylock, Sullivan and Conte building repairs. She worked with state Rep. Daniel Bosley’s office regarding these projects. During the $21 million Drury High renovation, she was at my side in a number of ways such as dealing with bus transportation issues, financial reports, and dealing with the architects at Tessier Associates during all phases of the project. She sat in on many of our weekly construction meetings, and she knew the various subcontractors on a first name basis. Her excellent communication and financial skills were demonstrated in our conversations with the general contractor.

She did her research on costs and never backed away from a dispute over numbers and details. She knew representatives from the SBAB (former School Building Assistance Bureau) in Boston, and she made sure the city got its 87 percent reimbursement. She excelled in designing RFPs for various projects and in the creation of bid specs for purchases. This included bids on trucks and vans, telecommunication networks, computers, $100,000 HVAC maintenance, and half-million dollar bus transportation .

Jen participated in crafting critical documents regarding school lunch programs. These documents saved the School Department a considerable amount of money and provided a template for future protocols. She was cognizant of School Department spending and reviewed invoices and payments with great detail. She saved the city many dollars through the careful use of borrowing in anticipation of revenue. She monitored bond trends while working closely with the city's financial advisers. Her communication skills were evident in meetings with state officials, our legal department, staff, vendors, parents, and the press.

I often referred to her as "Director of Everything." I confidently support her in becoming the next mayor of North Adams.

Joe Rogge
Adams, Mass.

Joseph Rogge is a retired superintendent of the North Adams Public Schools.

 

 

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