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SRI in the Rockies (SRIR) Conference Recap

Tomorrow's Economy: Investing for a Sustainable World

By Shane G. Yonston & Judith L. Seid

November 3-6, 2007

This year's SRI in the Rockies conference, held in Albuquerque, New Mexico Nov 3-6th, was the largest yet, with almost 700 attendees and a completely sold out venue. Once again Blue Summit Wealth Management attended as San Diego's premier Financial Planning firm specializing in SRI.

In fact, Blue Summit's founder, Judith Seid, was on this year's conference agenda committee. She had been working diligently over the past several months to secure panelists and plenary presentations from big-name speakers like California's former Treasury Secretary Phil Angelides who founded California's "GreenWave" Initiative focusing on sustainable investing. Seid was also instrumental in organizing a panel discussion on sweatshop labor and modern-day slavery including representatives from Gap and Ford.

This past year saw a marked increase in individual and institutional investors alike who are now looking at what used to be considered social issues and seeing them now as business opportunities and long term profit issues. The business risks and opportunities of climate change, corporate scandals, and the increasing corporate influence over the political system in part has helped fuel the growth of interest in this conference and the SRI industry in general. As well, investors have seen soaring alternative energy markets, a booming green building sector, and a steadily strong organics market, just to name a few.

HIGHLIGHTS from SRIR 2007

Moskowitz Prize
One of the most exciting presentations at the annual SRI in the Rockies conference is the Moskowitz Award winning study. Every year, academics from all over the world submit research papers regarding the correlation between social and environmental issues and investment performance. This years Moskowitz prize winner ran several different performance analyses of Fortune's "100 Best Companies to Work For" over different time periods, compared to the S&P 500. What he found was that not only did the "100 Best Companies" outperform, it really blew the market out of the water!

Carbon Emissions Trading
We learned about the world of carbon emissions trading from Richard L. Sandor, PhD and Chairman / CEO of the Chicago Climate Exchange, the world's first multi-national and multi-sector marketplace for reducing and trading greenhouse gas emissions. In 2002, Mr. Sandor was chosen by Time magazine as one of its "Heroes for the Planet" for his work in creating the Chicago Climate Exchange. He is a true believer of financial incentives being used to advance social goals and feels that through this system of voluntary but legally binding contracts we can stimulate changing the course of global warming.

Other Topics
Additional topics that were covered in the conference included:

  • Community Investing Today: Market Rate Opportunities Across Asset Classes
  • Emerging Alpha: A Guide to SRI in Emerging Markets
  • Identifying the BEST companies for social investment portfolios
  • Acid Rain and Global Warming: Using Markets to Solve Environmental Problems and Create Wealth
  • Opportunities and Risks of Climate Change: How Investors Can Help Move the Mountain
  • Responsible Property Investing: Opportunities and Risks in Green Real Estate
  • The Green Industrial Revolution