Sustainable Investing History

Sustainable investing history begins in the 18th Century. Noteworthy movements in the history include:

  • 1700s: The Methodists avoid the slave trade, smuggling, and resist investments in liquor, tobacco, or gambling.
  • 1890s: The Quakers found an investment corporation which does not invest in weapons, alcohol, and tobacco and they boycott products produced by slaves.
  • 1990s: Investors from around the world divest from corporations doing business in apartheid South Africa
  • 2010 – now : University funds divest from fossil fuels
  • 2019: 85% of individual investors surveyed indicated interest in ensuring that their money backs corporations with sustainable practices (according to a Morgan Stanley poll)
  • 2020: Sustainable investing across the investor values spectrum is projected to grow, with increasingly accessible information and products. The year began with a major announcement from Larry Fink, the CEO of BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, stating that BlackRock is putting climate change at the center of its investment strategy and will exit investments that present a high sustainability-related risk.
  • 2020 – 2025: The next five years will show strong growth in individual investors doing sustainable investing. Yield Positive was established to facilitate that growth.

Photo by Joao Silas

Cover image photo by Zoltan Tasi

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