Tales of the Quarter Century

Vintage Natural Investment Services logo as part of the 100th issue special, celebrating twenty-five years of quarterly newsletters. 

Before we were financial advisers, most of us were educators who felt called to drive positive change through teaching, writing, innovating, movement-building, and leading by example in sustainability and social justice. We  have nurtured this commitment over three decades at Natural Investments by working with our investors to realize our shared vision of a more sustainable and equitable future. And we’ve seized the opportunity to share inspiring updates with you every quarter—vital, consistent reminders of what can be accomplished through the intentional stewardship of assets.

This issue of our newsletter is our 100th. Over the past twenty-five years, we have written hundreds of articles, as well as three books, chronicling the growth of our movement for sustainable, responsible, and impact focused investing. Socially responsible investing has moved from the margins into the mainstream, and we have celebrated the investment opportunities and advocacy victories that bring people into better relationships with each other and the natural world. We have played a meaningful role in a paradigm shift that the business community cannot ignore.

As we grew from a father-son partnership to a robust team of twenty advisors across twelve states, these newsletters have added our unique voices to a chorus of global change agents. To celebrate this journey, our 100th issue takes us down memory lane. Reflecting on three decades of historical perspective, we begin to see the distance we’ve traveled and how we have shaped the SRI movement at large. In the pages that follow are our real-time reflections on:

  • South African anti-apartheid activists who successfully fought to end apartheid
  • fighting climate change through fossil fuel divestment
  • investing in community development after Hurricane Katrina
  • the 2007-2008 financial crash and the long road to recovery
  • the Darfur Genocide
  • shareholder activism as a tool for accountability
  • gender-lens investing
  • the prison divestment movement

We hope that by highlighting the sources of our own inspiration—local and global, private and public, micro and macro, personal and professional— we will inspire you to continue advancing the evolution of our society. Understanding the past guides our current and future work and illustrates the movement’s progress.

Today we are witnessing growing interest in and access to SRI options (including online platforms)—evidence of the increased credibility and power of this investment approach. Although we must guard against the pressure to water down SRI standards as it grows in popularity and profit, we remain hopeful that millions more people will align their assets with their values in order to move civilization in a better direction.

Natural Investments is particularly encouraged by the younger generation of investors and investment professionals, who have grown up with a heightened awareness and sense of responsibility for the evolution of our society. Those of us who’ve been around a while know that now more than ever, we need to listen to what these emerging leaders are  thinking, saying, and doing—and follow their lead. We know you will enjoy reading more about their perspectives in future issues.

We look to the past to find an anchor for today. These are dynamic times, but regardless of what may unfold in the future, it’s important to remember and appreciate the seeds we planted. Many of them have germinated, sprouted,  and begun bearing fruit. Can you taste them?

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