Clients, in each round of portfolio reviews, we have a chance to get into the nitty-gritty with many of you. There are changes we suggest, but we also do a fair amount of listening. We’re shaping the future together, after all.
We’ve enjoyed our research in sectors like renewable energy, efficient energy systems, and more sustainable forms of transportation. These areas continue to grow all the time, and it’s been an interesting challenge to find the best opportunities among the players. Some of these developments hold promise for making the most of modern life here on earth while respecting our finite resources and limits.
We’ve written about how certain investing styles are harmonious with our focus on the long term, and whatever you call these practices, we’re interested: we want our practices to be more sustainable, more consciously capitalist, more socially responsible… You get the picture.
But it’s not an all-or-nothing proposition. Businesses are human endeavors—perfectly imperfect entities with a variety of goals, costs, and tradeoffs. So how do we minimize harm and maximize long-lasting good?
Maybe you’ve seen the sitcom The Good Place, but this Ted Danson and Kristen Bell show keeps coming to mind in these conversations. It’s an exploration of the afterlife, and believe it or not, it asks some hilarious questions about the meaning of life’s choices. How do they add up? Who has earned a spot in “the good place”?
Ted Danson’s character puts it this way: “Life now is so complicated, it’s impossible for anyone to be good enough. These days just buying a tomato at a grocery store means that you are unwittingly supporting toxic pesticides, exploiting labor, contributing to global warming.” He’s trying to point out that life in the 21st century is so interconnected that even the most mundane choices are tied up with consequences that cross the globe! “Humans think that they’re making one choice,” he says, “but they’re actually making dozens of choices they don’t even know they’re making.”
Put that way, it can seem overwhelming. There could be an existential crisis lurking in every grocery store aisle!
But, just like the characters in the show, we’re trying to come at this with a lighter, more gentle approach. What the characters come to realize is that given the costs of our choices, which do enough good that we can live with the costs?
Where can we be of service?
How might we try, fail, and then try better?
Big questions, important topics. Clients—let’s keep talking. When you want to know what this might mean for your portfolio, write or call.
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