Investing Responsibly

The market crash of 2008 has shaken many of the investment and savings trusts and institutions that we, as a society, rely on as “guaranteed.” Trillions of dollars vanished due to reckless, over-levered loans and imbecilic short-term bets that failed. As working people and retirees awoke from the aftermath of the crash, they asked: Is there an alternative to the massive bets on the risky, ephemeral, and all-too-often fraudulent investment schemes—often using our savings and retirement assets—that triggered the financial market crash? 

The savings and assets of teachers, steelworkers, students, church members, insurance holders, and everyday people—our institutional trusts—should be managed responsibly and on a long-term foundation, guaranteeing the benefits that were promised. They should be used in a way that doesn’t harm the greater society. Since pension funds are, by definition, the deferred wages of workers, there is increasing recognition that pension investments should reflect the intrinsic interests of its “owners”— working people and retirees. They should not only yield competitive financial returns but also contribute to the long-term vitality of societies, economies, and environments (and even social standards).  Heartland Capital Strategies has helped bring attention to a group of remarkable responsible investors, capitalized by pension funds, in the U.S. and Canada.

Responsible funds in the U.S. and Canada (and globally) are generating good returns for their investors and creating positive impacts for workers, retirees and their communities.  Spanning the investment classes of private and venture equity, real estate, project finance and other fields, the impacts these investors have yielded include:

  • Retaining, modernizing and growing strategic industries, such as advanced manufacturing, technology and other vital sectors;
  • Saving or creating hundreds of thousands of living-wage jobs, many of them permanent;
  • Creating new and renovated living spaces (affordable and workforce housing) and workplaces, along with commercial and community facilities;
  • Developing renewable energy, efficient transportation and green construction industries, along with the supply chains linked to those systems;
  • Providing capital to clean economy infrastructure, power projects, products and services, like wind and solar farms, advanced battery systems, smart grids, etc.
  • Supporting the growth of SMEs (small/medium-sized enterprises); starting up ESOP and co-op companies; and providing micro-finance to smaller-scale enterprises.

To learn more about HCS, visit our website www.heartlandnetwork.org