Meet Our SRI Specialist
We often receive questions about Socially Responsible Investing (SRI) funds, or even about our SRI Specialist.
Q: I’ve read that ACU is one of the only financial institutions financial institutions with a Socially Responsible Investing Specialist. What exactly does an SRI Specialist do?
A: That’s correct. There is growing interest across Canada in considering a company’s social and environmental impact, as well as its financial performance, when making investment decisions, and ACU is leading the way by employing a full-time SRI Specialist.
My role at the credit union has four components to it.
The first is to educate our staff on the current trends and issues occurring around the world in socially responsible investing. This unique training includes information on green energy, e-waste and sweatshop labour conditions. ACU offers almost all of the SRI investment options that are available in Canada.
The second component of my role is to create tools that assist our staff in matching their members’ values with their investment decisions.
Third is to conduct individual SRI research for our members or for our staff to give to our members. This can be individual company analysis or it can be selecting an option around avoiding a particular issue — for example, avoiding companies involved with genetically modified foods or companies that engage in animal testing.
The final component involves community outreach, both locally and nationally. On a local level, I deliver educational presentations on socially responsible investing, corporate social responsibility, green careers and social auditing. These presentations reach a wide range of organizations: non-profits, for-profits such as architecture firms and legal offices, co-operatives, universities and high schools.
I also sit on two local community boards that are committed to alleviating poverty in our city: SEED Winnipeg and Community Ownership Solutions. On a national level, I am currently representing ACU as the President and Chair of the Social Investment Organization, a non-profit organization that promotes socially responsible investing across Canada.
Over the past month, the Manitoba Pension Commission has been asking for comments with respect to the changes that have been made to the Manitoba pension regulations. ACU and the Social Investment Organization have requested that the Manitoba Pension Commission ask Manitoba pension plans to disclose what environmental, social and governance analysis has been used in their investment process.
In addition, I contacted many of the organizations to which I delivered presentations to encourage them to engage in the same action. This change would enable a large percentage of Manitobans to determine what level of social, environmental and governance analysis is occurring within their pension plans. These proactive engagement strategies can create positive changes right here in Manitoba and set a great example for the rest of Canada to follow! If you have a question about socially responsible investing, send it along to: firstname.lastname@example.org.