In a couple of weeks, I’ll be attending the annual SRI Conference on Sustainable, Responsible, and Impact Investing in Connecticut. The three-day event is for investors and investment professionals “working to make money and enhance the common good.” The dates are October 2-4 at the Mohegan Sun Conference Center in Uncasville, CT.
My first SRI conference was in San Francisco in 1984. Over the past 28 years I have lost count of the SRI conferences that I’ve attended. Back in the 80s, attendance was usually about one hundred or fewer. Now these events attract several hundred from many countries. Increased interest in applying social, environmental, and governance criteria to the investment process is, in part, due to consumers and investors becoming more aware of both the risks and business opportunities of ecological limits, including climate change.
This year’s high-profile speakers include environmental leader Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., journalist David Brancaccio, author Dr. Deepak Chopra, and Nobel Laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus. I first met Muhammad Yunus in the early 80s when he was just starting Grameen Bank in Bangladesh. He was visiting Oregon and I gave him a tour of an organic farm outside of Eugene. At the time I was a director of a community loan fund to assist organic farmers. Dr. Yunus went on to become known as the father of microcredit and he has founded more than 50 companies in Bangladesh. Just this year, Fortune Magazine named him as "one of 12 greatest entrepreneurs of our time." Dr. Yunus will be delivering the opening keynote session and is one of 16 plenary speakers. There will be 30 sessions offered including “Think Local Food: Real Prosperity Starts Here” and “America's Low Carbon Energy Breakthrough Opportunity.”
The SRI Conference is the largest annual gathering of responsible investors and investment professionals in North America. If you are interested in learning more, please visit http://www.SRIconference.com. Portfolio 21 Investments is a sponsor every year and I’ll be there hosting our booth.
Carsten is Portfolio 21 Investments' founder and Chairman. He has more than 25 years of experience in socially and environmentally responsible investing.