Newsletter — January 2024

The things we’re taught about money can be…extreme. Money is the root of all evil, or it is the source of all happiness. You’re either a genius at money, or you’re a moron. You’re using your money to fix all the world’s problems, or you’re a greedy money-grubbing tycoon. Such extreme ideas are usually wrong, but more importantly? They tell you nothing about how you can use your money to create an impact on the world.

If you’ve bought Till Investors’ book – Sustainable Investing: An ESG Starter Kit for Everyday Investors – you already know that aligning your money with your values is a long-term game, with a handful of intermediate steps. But every rung on the Ladder of Impact has value. We’re not the only ones who believe that. In this month’s newsletter, we share a handful of comments from others who have also come to the conclusion that one step at a time is how impact is truly made.

Hannah Ritchie

Hannah Ritchie is an environmental data scientist in Scotland who has been seeking – and finding! – positive signs on the climate change front. In a recent profile in the New York Times Magazine, Ritchie said this: “What feels most productive to me is not to stare at the bad stuff and say, ‘This is bad,’ but to look and say: ‘This is positive stuff. How can I try to contribute to accelerating the good outpacing the bad?’”

(Note the New York Magazine article is behind a paywall, but you can see her excellent, data-rich Ted Talk here.)

Watch the TED Talk

Ed Begley Jr.

In the new Dollars and Change podcast hosted by Peter Krull of Earth Equity Advisors, actor and environmental activist Ed Begley Jr. describes his journey up the Ladder of Impact.

“I started [seeking environmental solutions] back in 1970, and I can promise you it’s been good for my financial standing because I did it in a fiscally responsible manner. I didn’t go out and buy solar panels I couldn’t afford in 1970, they were crazy expensive in 1970. I didn’t buy an electric car back then, they didn’t exist. But I could do the low-hanging fruit, the cheap and easy stuff. Riding a bike, public transportation, energy-efficient light bulbs, energy-efficient thermostat, and so forth…. At each stage of these different investments and reinvestments, I saved money and moved up the ladder.”

He also says that whenever you get overwhelmed by climate issues, remember – “you can reduce your carbon footprint. You can vote. And you can invest in companies that are taking action, maybe even leading, on climate responsibility.”

Watch the Full Podcast

Nell Derick Debevoise 

In Going First, her book about acting with purpose, “Inspiring Cowgirl” and champion of conscious capital Nell Derick Debevoise makes this statement: “When you go to a party, you don’t need to be the lead dancer, bartender, or wallflower; you only have to play your role.” Likewise, whether your investments are big or small, have a large impact or a modest one, they all add to the energy of the party and make it the place that people want to be.

Read the Book

Tell Us About Your Steps – and Your Roadblocks

If you’re looking to become a sustainable investor, your first step is The articles, FAQs, and fund company profiles available there can all help you make a start, and of course, you can find links to buy our book. But also – you can connect with us directly just by clicking on the Reach Out button. We want to hear about what’s helping you to take action, and what’s standing in your way. 

Conversation and community matter in sustainable investing, so share your journey with us and your fellow sustainable investors.