Wake up daily to our latest coverage of business done better, directly in your inbox.


Get your weekly dose of analysis on rising corporate activism.


The best of solutions journalism in the sustainability space, published monthly.

Select Newsletter

By signing up you agree to our privacy policy. You can opt out anytime.

Megan Schleck headshot

Most Of Us Are Waiting On the World to Change: You Don't Have to Be One of Them

A recent study revealed that only 23 percent of Americans actually believe in their individual power to drive social and environmental impact, leaving 77 percent feeling paralyzed. But individuals can take change into their own hands by using their voice, time and money, this CEO says.
By Megan Schleck
you've got the power to drive change

This story is part of an editorial series featuring speakers, organizations and themes we will discuss in depth at the 2019 3BL Forum: Brands Taking Stands—What’s Next, a two-day event on Oct. 29-30 that delves into the "why" and "how" behind corporate responsibility. You can follow the series here

Americans overwhelmingly agree that addressing social and environmental issues such as the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is important to our future. New data released from a 2019 State of Conscious Consumer Study revealed that over 70 percent of U.S. adults feel that addressing public health, sustainable development, environmental issues and planet health, workplace quality, equal access to prosperity, and gender equality issues are important to the future. So, why aren’t they doing more to impact these issues?

The study revealed that only 23 percent of Americans actually believe in their individual impact, leaving 77 percent of U.S. adults feeling paralyzed amid a sociopolitical climate consumed by fake news, mega-companies funding political campaigns, and alarmist assessments of our planet and society’s health. This assumed inability to make change has led to a nation overcome by the “not it” or bystander effect, which can have dangerous consequences and keeps people’s desire to impact change merely that, a desire. 

There are many ways that individuals can contribute to making an impact that, when compounded, will change the world. Walking or biking to work instead of driving, switching to energy-efficient light bulbs, unplugging your appliances when they’re not in use, purchasing organic or sustainable food products, replacing single-use plastics with reusable products, volunteering, raising awareness, or making donations are just some of the small, but impactful, ways individuals can make a difference. 

But while lifestyle changes, volunteering and donating are all great ways to give back, they aren’t the only ways to support the causes you believe in. There is a way to drive progress and diversify your personal income for a sustainable future. Values-driven investing empowers people to make a difference by using investment dollars to support the change they want to see in the world.

The Conscious Consumer Study also found that 56 percent of U.S. adults believe investing in companies supporting the issues they care about is an impactful action that can drive progress, yet 1 in 4 believe they don’t have enough money or information to take action. 

To address this issue, providers are paving the way for individuals—regardless of income levels—to take the future into their own hands and really make a difference. In a world that skews negative, new solutions are addressing the bystander effect and creating transparency to modernize the way we approach investing, especially for those that are just getting started. At COIN, we are fulfilling this ambition by laying out a path for a more conscious-led investing strategy. Our platform allows consumers to choose from varying impact areas—such as Clean Water to Better Health—that align with the United Nations Global Goals for sustainable development and invest in a custom portfolio of companies that make an impact in those areas. 

By investing with their values, individuals can send a clear and powerful message that companies making a positive impact on the world appeal to consumers, now and in the future. Environmental scientist David Suzuki once said, “In a world of more than 7 billion people, each of us is a drop in the bucket. But with enough drops, we can fill any bucket.” 

Individuals can take change into their own hands by using their voice, time and money. With these new solutions making values-driven investing more available and affordable than ever before, we do not need to remain paralyzed. 

We must believe in the power of compounding individual behaviors if we want to see true progress and positive global, societal impact. Let’s become a country of conscious consumers— because with enough drops, we can fill any bucket. 

Megan Schleck, co-founder and CEO of COIN, is among the speakers who will take the stage at the 2019 3BL Forum. Together, 80-plus speakers promise this two-day event one that is fast-paced, high-octane and invaluable with their perspectives on the latest in the environmental, social and governance (ESG) community.

We’re pleased to offer TriplePundit readers a 25 percent discount on attending the Forum. Please register by going to the 3BL Forum website and use this discount code when prompted: NEWS2019BRANDS.

Image credit: Emma Matthews/Unsplash

Megan Schleck headshot

Megan Schleck is the CEO of COIN, a conscious investing platform that invests your money in companies making a difference. COIN is backed by John Hancock, combining the company's 157 years of expertise with COIN's passion for maximizing positive impact guided by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

Read more stories by Megan Schleck