True enough, the 2010 SRI in the Rockies Conference will be taking place in San Antonio, Texas, next month.  It's reasonable, of course, to wonder just how anywhere in Texas could be considered "in the Rockies."  Well, as the oldest and largest annual event for the sustainable and responsible investment industry (SRI) in North America, SRI in the Rockies has grown to be a lot more than just a trip to the mountains.  For many, it has become a "state of mind."

Wherever the SRI in the Rockies venue, it's the place to be for investors and investment professionals interested in directing the flow of investment capital in more positive, healthy and transformative ways. And because the conference strives to ensure that everyone attending has ample opportunity to network with leaders and innovators, an advisor is sure to be inspired by new information, insights and ideas that can be put into practice straight away.  The stories that can be shared with clients are alone worth the price of admission.

Over the years, SRI in the Rockies has become a singularly important forum for thought leaders to inform, inspire, and challenge investors and industry players alike.  Not surprisingly then, the conference is typically one of the most thought-provoking experiences an investment professional will have in any given year. Certified Financial Planners can realize eight to ten hours of continuing education credit at the same time.

The full SRI in the Rockies agenda is available at, but here are a few of the sessions that promise to be particularly valuable to advisors focusing on green investing:

Re-thinking Modern Portfolio Theory.  A panel of experts will assess asset class performance correlations, especially during periods of market stress, and take a close look at the systemic risks that Modern Portfolio Theory (MPT) may not properly account for, such as climate change.  They will discuss alternatives to MPT, and present analysis of the viability of such alternatives.

Cracking The SRI Performance Debate.  Are we "hard wired" to assume that doing something good with money automatically means that we must sacrifice returns?  Do green/SRI/ESG portfolios perform as well as conventional portfolios that ignore impacts? What does the academic research show?  What has Morningstar discovered?

Energy: Can't Live Without It. How Do We Live With It As Responsible Investors?  Recent environmental catastrophes have served to heighten awareness of the challenges associated with investing in traditional oil and gas multinationals, coal or diversified energy companies.  Should a responsibly invested portfolio contain these options?  If so, on what grounds should investments be evaluated and how can we better assess the risks?  How should socially conscious investors engage on critical issues around energy?

Banking On Reform: Are We Entering A New Era Of Sustainable Banking?  In the wake of the financial crisis, the Dodd-Frank Act of 2010 aims to restrain risky practices and provide better protection to consumers. This panel of experts will examine what these developments portend for the provision of responsible, appropriate financial services in the United States, particularly in low-income and underserved communities.  Can we expect a new era of sustainable banking?

Protecting The Water Commons: Everybody's Business.
Globally, 884 million people lack access to safe drinking water and 2.6 billion people lack decent sanitation facilities.  The United Nations has recognized the human right to water and sanitation, and committed each country to provide its people with equitable access to its water commons.  What does this mean for investors?  What is the role for the private sector in solving the global water crisis?

Can There Be A Responsible Hedge Fund?
Hedge funds have become an important source of portfolio diversification for many institutional and high-net-worth individual investors, yet most socially conscious investors have shied away. This session will introduce the basics of long-short equity hedge funds, review the emerging strategies available to responsible investors, and debate whether hedge fund investing is fundamentally responsible, or if new approaches can provide unique opportunities for performance and impact.

Value Vs. Values: A Fork In The Road? Market demand is growing for investment strategies that assess environmental, social and governance criteria to create value, preserve capital, and reduce legal and reputational risk. As ESG integration becomes more common, imprecise language and unclear objectives blur what may be two distinct strategies: 1) The evaluation of social and environmental impacts on society, and 2) The evaluation of social and environmental impacts on investment risks and returns.

The Paradox Of China's Transformation. China, now the world's second-largest economy and the largest emitter of greenhouse gases, is continuously extending its global influence through its companies and sovereign wealth funds. A panel of experts will discuss a wide range of environmental, social and governance concerns as investors look to Chinese firms and the Chinese market for sound investments.