Steve Starnes GRBJ Commentary: Sustainable Investing

September 15, 2020


Steven A. Starnes

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Steven A. Starnes


Senior Financial Advisor, Principal

This summer, Steve Starnes, MBA, CFP® was invited to serve as a guest instructor in an undergraduate business ethics class. He enjoyed the experience, and the questions students asked about sustainable investing. What is it? Can it “work” as an investment strategy? Can environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) ratings help make the world a better place? Inspired by his classroom conversation, Steve covered sustainable investing in a recent Grand Rapids Business Journal article.

Broadly, sustainable investing adds ESG considerations as an additional factor one might consider when deciding what to invest in. As its appeal grows, sustainable investing seems to be here to stay, although different investors approach the possibilities with different priorities.

Some investors may hope to earn higher returns by investing sustainably. Others are more concerned about the positive impact they can make by “voting” with their investments. Most investors fall somewhere in between, hoping to earn solid returns in a principled way. Different strategies are available to appeal to each of these priorities.

Steve also explores whether we can make a difference as individual investors. He quotes an ethics professor, who taught him “every little pebble creates a ripple.” Steve concludes, “Whether through investing or other actions, you get to decide how you want to contribute to making the world a better place for yourself and others.”

To learn more, read Steve’s article here.