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Sustainable & Responsible Investing Continues to Grow at Remarkable Pace

 

US SIF, the Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment published their biennial 2018 Responsible and Impact Investing Trends today. As we have been expecting, the amount of investments categorized as being sustainable and responsible has grown considerably since the last report back in 2016. Earth Equity Advisors has been a member of US SIF for over fourteen years.

Sustainable and responsible investing in the US has grown to $12 trillion from $8.7 trillion in 2016. That’s a 38% increase and now accounts for just over ¼ of all investments under professional management in the US.

Earth Equity advisors has seen asset growth of 60% plus over the last two years. “It’s exciting to see our industry to continue to grow at this rapid pace and even more exciting to see Earth Equity Advisors lead the way,” said Earth Equity Advisors’ CEO & Director of Investments, Peter Krull.

The report also catalogs the more than 700 shareholder resolutions filed relating to environmental, social and governance issues during the 2018 proxy season. “Shareholder advocacy continues to be a good strategy to push companies to be better and truly helps Earth Equity to fulfill our mission to empower our clients to be changemakers,” Earth Equity Advisors’ Partner & COO, Neill Yelverton said. The top issues raised were proxy access, corporate political activity, climate change and labor and equal employment opportunity.

 

For more information on the US SIF report, visit the organization’s website for an executive summary of the report.

 

Krull & Company is Now Earth Equity Advisors

About a year ago, my business partner Neill Yelverton and I made an important decision – a decision to form a brand new Registered Investment Advisory (RIA) firm.

Over the last six years, we have been grateful to work with Micah Porter and Minerva Planning Group in Atlanta as our RIA. But we felt the time had come to break-out on our own and grow independently.

So we began the intense process of reviewing custodians, software, investment research, compliance and other integral business services. The process was exciting because we were basically starting from the ground up and we could choose the best offerings to provide the best services to our future clients.

We are proud to present our new name and visual brand, Earth Equity Advisors. Over the coming weeks, we will share more details about the transition and the story behind the new logo and name.

Since we opened our doors in 2004, we have never wavered from our focus on client service, our ethic of social and environmental responsibility, and our motivation to be the best and do the right thing. And we’re proud to continue upholding this focus, commitment, and motivation as we move into 2017 with our Earth Equity brand.

We’re excited to have you journey with us into this new era of aligning your investments with your values. If you have any questions, please give us a shout.

Pete Krull’s interview on Green Guy Radio

Eric Moncrief

Eric Moncrief

 

I had the honor of being the guest on the Green Guy Radio Show last week with Eric Moncrief. Had a great time discussing responsible investing, fossil fuel divestment, sustainability and more! Please take some time to listen to the show and share with your family and friends.

Krull & Company Enters the Charlotte Market

We are very excited to announce that Leesa Childress Sluder has joined Krull & Company as an Investment Advisor. Leesa brings with her a wealth of experience as a former banking executive and a consultant focusing on the triple bottom line.

Leesa has an extensive background in working with Fortune 500 executives, professionals, and small business owners. She served as president and principal consultant of Triple Bottom Line Consulting. Prior to TBL, she spent time working for three major corporations: Citibank, Cone Mills Corporation, and Bank of America, among other things, as a Managing Director/Senior Vice President.

In her role with Krull & Company, Leesa draws upon the experience of over twenty-five years of corporate finance work, her Masters of Psychology degree, and seven years of professional consulting and coaching work with hundreds of clients.  She helps clients to not only plan and invest, but to empower them to be positive changemakers through their investments. She strongly believes in the power of intentional investing and the impact it can have on the world.

Leesa and her husband Todd live at Lake Norman, but also enjoy spending time in her hometown of Asheville, NC.

She can be contacted directly here or by calling 877-235-3684.

 

Fossil Fuel Divestment Gaining Momentum

Recently, the Norwegian Government Pension Fund Global, the world’s largest sovereign wealth fund, announced that it would be selling shares of Duke Energy and other coal-burning utilities from it’s portfolio. Why is this important? Because the pension fund is one of Duke’s largest shareholders, holding around 0.76 percent of the company’s outstanding shares.

It is also important because it is one of the first major government investments to decide to divest from fossil fuel companies. Many colleges, institutions and non-profits have been selling their shares recently. 350.org has been a major driver of the divestment movement internationally, including organizing Global Divestment Day on February 13, 2015.

The rationale behind fossil-fuel divestment is multi-fold:

       Investments in fossil-fuels does not align with many people/institution’s values

       To shape public policy/discussion and to limit influence by well-funded energy companies

       Potentially reduce financial risk from liabilities or stranded assets

       To reallocate investments to more sustainable companies

Krull & Company, Asheville’s only socially and environmentally responsible investment management firm has been offering fossil-fuel-free portfolios to clients since 2012. Our Green Sage Sustainability Portfolio has been used as a reinvestment option for individuals and institutions that are divesting from fossil fuels. In addition, we also offer two diversified mutual fund portfolios with no fossil-fuels! Contact us to learn more.

Neill Yelverton Becomes Partner

We are pleased to announce that Neill Yelverton, a financial advisor at the firm, has become an equity partner.

“Neill has been with us for over a year and has proven to be a tremendous asset. His dedication to social and environmental issues, his drive and work ethic, and his desire to provide first-class client service fits very well with the mission of Krull & Company. I am excited to have him as a business partner,” Krull & Company President and Founder Peter Krull said. 

Yelverton hold a B.S. in Wildlife Science from North Carolina State University and a M.B.A from Western Carolina University where he completed independent study in Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainability in Business. He is currently working on completing his Certified Financial Planner (CFP®) designation.

“What a great opportunity to be a partner in this amazing firm,” Neill Said. “Every day I get to help clients be changemakers with their investments – it’s something that I’m proud of and truly believe in.” 

Neill is currently accepting select new individuals, trusts, non-profits and business retirement plans as clients.

Living Well

I had a great opportunity this week to be interviewed on the Living Well radio show here in Asheville. The host, Dr. Bob Hanna, a local psychologist is genuinely interested in “living well,” and that includes investing.

In the many years that I’ve been helping people invest with their values, the biggest challenge/opportunity has always been simply education. Getting the word out that you can invest with your values, avoid polluters and other offenders, make a difference with your money, and get a competitive return.

What I have found is that many folks silo their money and investments. They may recycle, buy organic food, drive a hybrid, etc. But when it comes to investing, the old see no evil, hear no evil speak no evil philosophy comes out.

So, when I have the chance to talk about responsible investing with someone like Bob, I try to stress that responsible investing really is about “living well” as the name of the show suggests. It’s not something that should be set aside, but something that should be integrated into your overall life philosophy.

Click here to listen to the interview

Pete Krull

What if it’s all a hoax?

This is one of my favorite cartoons from Joel Pett. He offers a great question, what if it’s all a hoax?

Personally, I do not believe it’s a hoax because the data supports scientists’ claims of man-made climate change. So, I guess it’s not that I “believe,” it’s that the hypothesis has been validated by the vast majority of scientists (around 97%.)

Admiral David Titley expresses the same sentiment in an article I read this morning, “People ask me if I ‘got religion,’” Titley said. “No, I don’t ‘believe in climate change – I’m convinced by the evidence.” Read the article

But to go back to the original cartoon, what if it’s a hoax? Some claim that proactively addressing the issue will ruin the economy, but the World Bank has shown those claims to be untrue and even said that tackling climate change would grow the global economy. Read the article

Furthermore, studies continue to show significant clean energy jobs growth. Our friends at E2 are keeping on top of this. More information

So again, what if it’s a hoax and all of these scientists are wrong? Well, unless you’re the CEO of a fossil-fuel company whose very existence (not to mention multi-million dollar compensation package) is in jeopardy, there’s really not much to complain about:

       Energy independence

       Preserve rainforests

       Sustainability

       Green jobs

       Livable cities

       Renewables

       Clean water & air

       Healthy children

       Etc, etc

So let’s focus on the positives, nurture the opportunities and make the world a better place – together.

Peter Krull is President and Founder of Krull & Company, an Asheville, NC-based socially and environmentally responsible investment management firm. For more information, visit www.investwithyourvalues.com

Why investing with your values matters

It doesn’t matter if I invest with my values – all that matters is making a profit, right?

Well, it does matter. By investing in companies that do not align with your values, you are implicitly endorsing their business practices. If you do own them and are not actively voting your proxy to encourage better behavior, you are, for lack of a better phrase, asleep at the wheel.

Did you know that the four largest mutual fund companies did not vote for transparency in political contributions in 2013? If you have investments with these companies, and you consider yourself a responsible investor, you are not being represented. Here’s the story from the Harvard Law School Forum.

This doesn’t mean that you need to be actively managing your portfolio or that you have to give up return; but it does mean that you need to be informed. Seek out an advisor who understands the concept of responsible investing. Divest from fossil fuels. Use your proxy to challenge corporate pay structures and lobbying efforts. You can make a difference, invest with your values and still get competitive returns.

Peter Krull is President and Founder of Krull & Company, a leading socially and environmentally responsible investment management firm based in Asheville, NC.

When a Trust or Inheritance Comes Your Way…

By Peter Krull

We have had several clients over the past few years who have inherited investments or trusts from parents, grandparents, etc. While this event is typically a bittersweet occurrence, there is often a second level we have to address.

Many of the younger clients inheriting the wealth do not have the same values as their parents or grandparents. And so when they receive inherited assets they often find investments that are not aligned with their values, including fossil-fuel companies, defense contractors and big pharmaceuticals.

What we hear from many new clients is that the financial advisor who had been managing the account previously was not interested in transitioning the account to one with responsible investments. Occasionally this is a difficult situation to resolve – many times the advisor has been a family friend for many years. Sometimes, simple inertia takes over and the account stays where it is for years.

But eventually folks find their way to us. What we do is empower clients to be changemakers and invest with their values. We work with clients to identify those investments that do not represent their interests and use a tax-managed approach to divest and reinvest in more appropriate opportunities.

The truth is that you do not have to settle for investments that keep you up at night. You can change and you can make a difference. Better yet, you can do so and still have competitive returns. All you have to do is ask.

Peter Krull is President & Founder of Krull & Company, a leading socially and environmentally responsible investment management firm based in Asheville, NC.