Inspiring perspectives

Inspiring Perspectives: Andrew Behar on how to invest in your values

May 22, 2024
Inspiring perspectives

Inspiring Perspectives: Andrew Behar on how to invest in your values

Andrew Behar, CEO of As You Sow, wants you to invest in your values. He and his team engage with some of the most influential companies in the country to convince them to reduce their material risk and improve their operations.  As You Sow is a non-profit that works with shareholders to amplify their voices, and increase corporate responsibility on a broad range of environmental issues, such as waste reduction and waste management, as well as social issues including racial justice, diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace. As a result the companies they work with see a boost in their potential for revenue and profit while ensuring they don't harm the planet or people. In our latest Inspiring Perspective episode, we asked Andrew about his work, along with ways individuals can make an impact through their investments.

Here are three powerful ways we can use our financial investments to inspire change:

Put your money where your values are.

"It's your money. You just have to tell people that you want to apply it according to your values. We've done a lot of polling. 80% of people want a livable planet. 80% of people want to invest in a future that their children and their grandchildren can be in…This is not rocket science. This is actually just about really basically exerting the power that you already have.”

Andrew emphasizes that how we spend our money is a powerful tool, one that should be—and can be—aligned with our values. As You Sow recently implemented its first fully voting 401(k) plan, so everyone at the organization can vote on how they want their money to be invested. If you’re interested in proactively directing your dollars, consider using tools like Fossil free funds or The Clean200®.

Know where your money is being invested.

“What we discovered is there's a hundred million people with $10 trillion of assets that have no idea how they're invested. And they have also given over their proxy voting to groups that vote with management 98% of the time.”

If you’re invested in funds or indices, where you’re investing (or rather, what you’re investing in) isn’t always clear. To learn exactly where your investments are going, check out the free tool  Andrew recommended in the podcast: Invest Your Values.

Push for change with your purchasing decisions.

"With every dollar they [consumers] spend, they vote. So if, for instance, you're deciding to buy this pair of sneakers or that pair of sneakers, go and see which company has a better racial justice score, which company has a better climate score…express yourself through every dollar that you spend, where you bank. Look at the companies. If you've got a credit card, if you have a debit card, does the company give loans to fossil fuel companies or do they not? That's up to you.”

Similar to values-aligned investing, Andrew insists that if you’re not a shareholder, employee, or worker, you still have the power to vote with your money according to the purchases you make. As a consumer or customer, every selection you make, every question you ask, and every concern you raise sends a message and has the potential to drive change. 

If you want to learn more about shareholder advocacy and Andrew’s work with As You Sow, listen to our latest podcast episode.

Inspiring Perspectives: Andrew Behar on how to invest in your values
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