On Bloomberg terminals, the CSR pages are generating the fastest-growing number of page views.
For those of you who do not know what CSR stands for, it's corporate social responsibility. And the factoid above comes from Gillian Tett, who moderated the Financial Times sustainability conference last week in New York City. Tett is FT's U.S. managing editor.
Not only should every financial advisor note the growth in CSR, he or she should have been in attendance at the FT conference to understand just how pervasive and deep CSR has become.
If you want to invest with social and financial impact, CSR has to be imbedded throughout operations and the supply chain. (CSRHub.com), now available via the Huffington Post, makes this vetting a whole lot simpler; check it out.)
Companies such as BMW, Verizon and even AOL attended last week to espouse their CSR initiatives. Financial firms such as Blackrock, the largest asset manager in the world, were there to say CSR is now a first filter mechanism through which they analyze companies. And Robert Hormats, Undersecretary of State for Economics, Energy and the Environment, said our knowledge and management skills in providing proper corporate accounting and transparency may be one of the biggest U.S. exports.
The most interesting tidbit I gleaned from the FT event was just how big Canada is into CSR.
Who knew Caisse de depot et placement du Quebec manages $150 billion and is committed to impact investing, so much so that it can't find enough advisors and consultants to hire, according to Stephen Kibsey, who manages the fund?
I never really thought of Canada in the social investing sense before. But it makes sense. With water issues, timber issues, energy issues (Canada is the biggest energy provider to the U.S., remember), and mining issues, Canada is faced with the trial of managing natural resource wealth in a sustainable manner. It's made me take another look at impact investing firms such as Sarona Asset Management in Waterloo, Ontario, to see what they and other Canadian investment firms are up to. They have a home-grown model of investing and portfolio management to offer.
When we talk about the global "South" we are usually talking about the developing world and managing the natural resource bounty it affords. The global "North," however, shouldn't be ignored -- not for only the natural resource wealth it holds, but the ways it which it effectively sustainably manages and invests in them.
CSR is looking up.