Sustainable Investing History

Sustainable investing has a long history, with noteworthy movements including:

  • 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.

Photo by Joao Silas

Cover image photo by Zoltan Tasi

%d bloggers like this: