5 min read

Guide and Seek

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The email header with the "For What It's Worth" logo, graphic that includes a hand holding a representation of a blooming flower that has money blooming at the top, and the tagline "Insights to invest in the world you want" underneath it.

With Q3 in the rearview, this week investors are watching earnings reports for signs of how companies are faring in this weird economy. That is why you may have seen so many headlines about Netflix subscriber growth or the number of cars Tesla reported selling over the past week. But the daily ups and downs of stock exchange reports and company earnings can be overwhelming and can, sometimes, cause people to lose track of the big picture (like that “Midnight” releases tomorrow 🍿…)

So, how does one step back and keep perspective while still keeping up with the key trends and tips in these uncertain times? We’ve got a few suggestions:

  1. Breathe. And review our guide to the rewards of long-term investing that we released last week (thanks for all the lovely comments that came in about this!!).
  2. Be inspired by all the innovation around us. One place to look: the new “FWIW Guide to Cleantech Investing: Sectors to Watch” that we launched today. We will tell you a bit more about the value of this piece a bit later in the newsletter, but it is full of sectors and companies that are bringing sustainable solutions to the market. It is really pretty comprehensive and we think you will find it worth your time.
  3. Check out our newly updated “How to Practice Faith-Based Investing.” If your values-aligned investing strategies are tied to your faith, you’ll find it chock full of resources to guide your decisions.
  4. Review. This week’s edition also includes another FWIW (no pressure) quiz where you can see what you’ve learned and get links to tips and insights you might want to read again.

In keeping with this spirit, we’ve also seen a number of reports this week that may not have gotten as much attention as corporate earnings but shed some light on the potentially larger story about steps companies are taking behind the scenes that could be impactful.

First is the latest benchmark from Climate Action 100+, which indicates companies continue to make progress on net zero commitments, though they’re falling short on credible plans showing how goals will be achieved. Then there’s a survey which found 72% of companies are setting science-based net zero emissions targets — triple the number from last year. What also caught our eye in this survey: a quarter say they won’t publicize those targets. Some call this “green hushing” but the lack of disclosure highlights concerns of backlash (likely from multiple stakeholders).

Meanwhile, a KPMG survey found that 96% of the world’s 250 largest companies report on sustainability or ESG — a huge increase from the 35% who did so in 1999. It reminds us that progress takes time, of the key role data plays in driving companies to count what matters and to set (and hopefully hit) targets and the role innovators have played in creating solutions and bringing products to market that companies can embrace.

We hope these new resources (and some distance from all the financial news) will help guide you on your values-aligned investing journey.

Happy reading!

News you can use

Graphic of newspaper with magnifying glass
  • The world is making progress in the fight against climate change. Bloomberg highlights 10 developments to celebrate, from fin whales returning to Antarctica to India scaling its green hydrogen production capacity. Cheers to that. 🍾
  • Remote work is boosting opportunities for adults with disabilities — and maybe a fueling baby boom, too. Labor force participation for people with disabilities reached 23.3% in November last year — the highest it's been since 2008 — and is currently 23.2%. And in a completely unrelated development, new research suggests that increased workplace flexibility may be one driving force behind a mini baby boom in the US in 2021. Want to know what companies are setting the bar in these areas? Check out DiversityInc’s Top Companies for People with Disabilities and the Forbes Top 100 Companies for Remote Jobs.
  • Stocks jump when companies hire Black CEOs. A new study found that a medium-sized firm saw a 3.1% increase in market capitalization within three days of announcing the appointment of a Black CEO. One likely reason for favorable investor reactions? Researchers say Black executives who make it to the top typically have stronger resumes than their white counterparts.
  • Gender-diverse boards are good for the climate, suggests a new study from the European Central Bank. Banks with a relatively high share of female directors lend to big polluters less, while granting more credit to greener companies. Add that to the long list of reasons to promote more women in leadership.

Get in“Quiz”itive

Miss college midterm season? OK, we don’t either. But we still think you’ll enjoy testing your knowledge with our short, no-judgment quiz.

Good luck!

Your Cleantech Cheatsheet

Graphic of a light bulb with a filament shaped like a recycle sign – with leaves in the background.

Everyone brings a different set of values to their investing. For those of you concerned about the wellbeing of this planet we call home and keen to learn more about investing with an eye on sustainability, investing in the technology companies building us a greener future can help you create a portfolio that reflects your values and goals. But there are a lot of options to consider and many pros and cons to weigh before investing. Frankly, it can be a bit daunting, but we urge you to “dip a toe in the water” so you can start identifying areas you might be interested in learning more about.

We’ve built a FWIW Guide to Cleantech Investing: Sectors to Watch so that you can easily access all the essential information about key sectors that aim to bring new products and practices online to rethink how we reduce negative environmental impacts through improving energy efficiency and the sustainable use of resources while continuing to grow economically. We hope this will help guide your research before you decide to take the plunge and that you use this as a go to resource to keep tabs on the newest innovations as we’ll be updating it regularly.

Click here to nerd out!

Before you go -

According to Wired, if you don’t already live in a “sponge city,” you will soon (and no, they’re not referring to a whole bunch of pineapples under the sea.)

** FWIW team members own shares in Tesla. And may or may not have been peeking at the lyrics from Taylor’s new album while writing this issue…

Want to learn a bit more about the writers behind FWIW? Have an idea you would like us to cover in the future?