Impact Investing Goes Mainstream–Morgan Stanley Jumps on Board

Morgan Stanley, a global financial services firm with 1500 offices around the world, just announced they were offering a new set of investment options for clients interested in the triple bottom line. The “Investing with Impact Platform” is the first, to my knowledge, impact investment portfolio option for investors offered by one of the “too big to fail” banks that received a bailout from the U.S. government.

Currently, according to the company, about 1 in 8 dollars under professional financial management, or about $3 trillion, is invested in a portfolio in what has traditionally been called Socially Responsible Investing. SRI has allowed investors to have avoidance triggers, so that they know their money is not invested in certain industries, like conflict minerals, tobacco, plastics, big oil, and the like. Impact investing is somewhat different, in that the purpose of the investment is specifically to advance businesses that incorporate environmental and social performance in their measurements and performance criteria.

According to Andy Saperstein, head of wealth management in the U.S. for Morgan Stanley, “We hear frequently from clients about the importance of integrating sustainability themes into their investment portfolios.”

The Investing with Impact Platform will offer clients investments in public and private market products, and is part of Morgan Stanley’s focused effort to meet investors’ desire to have opportunities that center on positive social and environmental impact and financial performance.
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Scott Cooney is the author of Build a Green Small Business and developer of the sustainability game GBO Hawaii. For more, please visit www.GreenBusinessOwner.com

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Scott Cooney, Principal of GreenBusinessOwner.com and author of Build a Green Small Business: Profitable Ways to Become an Ecopreneur (McGraw-Hill, November 2008), is also a serial ecopreneur who has started and grown several green businesses and consulted several other green startups. He co-founded the ReDirect Guide, a green business directory, in Salt Lake City, UT. He greened his home in Salt Lake City, including xeriscaping, an organic orchard, extra natural fiber insulation, a 1.8kW solar PV array, on-demand hot water, energy star appliances, and natural paints. He is a vegetarian, an avid cyclist, ultimate frisbee player, and surfer, and currently lives in the sunny Mission district of San Francisco. Scott is working on his second book, a look at microeconomics in the green sector.In June 2010, Scott launched GreenBusinessOwner.com, a sustainability consulting firm dedicated to providing solutions to common business problems by leveraging the power of the triple bottom line. Focused exclusively on small business, GBO's mission is to facilitate the creation and success of small, green businesses.