About 70 people gathered in Peterborough’s Trinity United Church Hall Thursday evening to hear investment coach Tim Nash discuss socially responsible investment, in an event organized by For Our Grandchildren. The evening started with a short talk on climate-change science and local effects by Ginny Colling, trained by the Al Gore Climate Reality Project.
In his presentation, Nash stated that only one-third of Canadians even have a registered savings plan or a tax-free savings account. They are the privileged few and should ensure that their investments reflect their moral position. “Investing responsibly is only one tool for climate-change action”, he said. “A person’s investment portfolio often represents the biggest part of their carbon emissions if typical of Canadian portfolios, bigger than flying or even driving a gas-powered car.”
However, you can make money and still avoid a large carbon footprint, as sustainable companies are generally more profitable than those which are not sustainable. Nash stated that a person who invests $500 per month with a 7.5% return will have accumulated $1.5 million after 40 years. However, typical mutual-fund management fees of 2.25% would reduce this total by over half a million dollars. Therefore, individuals should consider exchange-traded funds (ETFs) which mimic segments of the total market and so have much lower management fees, and which are also ESG (Environmental, Sustainability and Governance) funds that are socially responsible, such as the PZD Invesco Cleantech.
Nash also said that it was straightforward to buy such stocks in a self-directed plan, and he had a sliding scale to walk investors through their initial purchases. In response to a question about how to choose green technology stocks, as for renewable energy, he stated that buying tech stocks was risky because technology can change very rapidly. Instead, he recommended buying utilities such as Brookfield Renewable Energy.
To a question about investing locally, he recommended community bonds (such as the ones that The Mount used to finance its development). Tapestry Capital can help organizations to develop such bonds to raise capital. When questioned about when he expected a serious market downturn in the fossil-fuel market caused by electric vehicles, he replied that this was difficult to predict, with estimates ranging from the mid 2020’s to 2035. The important point, Nash said, was to leave that part of the market before it started to change rapidly as that would be too late to avoid a big loss.