It's possible to invest with a conscience.
The choice to invest responsibly rests with the consumer.
Every day, Canadians vote with their dollars. They buy organic produce, support their local coffee shops and conserve energy at home by using LED lights. Using buying power to support causes and enterprises that are personally important is a time-honoured consumer strategy.
Curiously though, most Canadians don't apply this thinking to their investing. An organic food shopper, for example, might be shocked to learn that companies held in their portfolio are leaders in GMO, or an anti-tobacco advocate could find themselves holding a company that derives a significant portion of its revenue from the sale of cigarettes.
NEI Investments focus on Responsible Investing (RI), offering funds that automatically screen out companies associated with the manufacture and sale of tobacco products, illegal weapons and the delivery of nuclear power. What is less well known — and potentially a far more powerful tool for change — is the corporate engagement work NEI undertakes across its entire fund lineup with the companies it holds. NEI helps improve how those firms measure up on environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors.
Read about the companies we invest in and how we're engaging them.
Read to learn how NEI is committed to helping our clients grow wealth responsibly.
Watch NEI's Bob Walker discuss current trends in Responsible Investing.
NEI engages the management teams of the companies it holds in a wide range of issues, including:
How much executives are paid in relation to the average worker
Responsible marketing of pharmaceuticals
Reduction of high sugar products
Free, prior and informed consent when working with Indigenous Peoples.
In addition to evaluating every company it holds against ESG factors, at any given time, NEI is actively engaging with up to 50 company management teams not only to help mitigate investment risk, but to fundamentally make those companies better, to improve performance and to be better corporate citizens.
Through their ownership of NEI's mutual funds, Canadians can actually have a direct impact on the activities of the companies they own.
That's a powerful benefit to add to your portfolio, in addition to earning money for retirement. In fact, according to the Canadian-based research firm Environics, two thirds of Canadians believe the managers of the funds they buy should consider Responsible Investing factors when making investment decisions. And over 90% want to align their investments with their values.
And yet, despite evidence that the integration of RI factors can reduce risk and could improve long-term investment performance, only one in five investors ever raises the subject of RI with their advisor.