Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, and his wife, Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex, are the latest to join the boom in sustainable investing as they follow Wall Street in embracing a multitrillion-dollar industry.
The couple is joining Ethic, a $US1.3 billion ($1.8 billion) investing fund based in New York, as “impact partners” in the hope of raising awareness around issues such as racial injustice, climate change and income equality, said co-founder Jay Lipman. The Sussexes have investments managed by the firm and also backed the fund manager financially earlier this year, according to reports.
“When we invest in each other we change the world,” the Duke and Duchess of Sussex said in a statement on the website of Archewell, their organisation which runs a charitable foundation and a media production business.
Prince Harry The Duke of Sussex and Meghan Markle The Duchess of Sussex say they put their “values in action”.Credit:AP
“We believe it’s time for more people to have a seat at the table when decisions are made that impact everyone. We want to rethink the nature of investing to help solve the global issues we all face,” they announced.
“Our impact partnership with Ethic is one of the ways we put our values in action.”
With environmental, social and governance (ESG) investing now part of mainstream finance, regulators have started paying more attention to how well fund managers’ claims of sustainability match their actions. And with about $US35 trillion parked in ESG assets, according to the Global Sustainable Investment Alliance, there’s growing concern that the label is often misused, a practice known as green washing.
“Sustainable investing is certainly in vogue right now but likely for the wrong reasons,” said Lisa Sachs, who heads Columbia University’s Center on Sustainable Investment.
“We shouldn’t confuse holding a value-aligned portfolio and mitigating exposure to risk with addressing the major and urgent underlying issues.”
Ethic was started in 2015 and says it creates bespoke investments for its customers based on the social and environmental issues they care about the most.
Lipman said investors can address society’s biggest challenges through collectively divesting from polluters and companies that perpetuate racial discrimination such as America’s private prison system.
Since stepping away from their British royal duties, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have signed deals with companies including Netflix. The couple moved to the US last year. The New York Times was first to report their sustainable investment deal.
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