4 min read

Keeping It Clean

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Hi there,

Happy summer! We hope you’re staying cool as you read this newsletter with a cold brew or Grimace shake in hand (or not, if this review is accurate).

It’s a short week for many Americans whose workplaces closed on Monday for Juneteenth, commemorating the fully realized emancipation of enslaved people in the US. This month also marks three years since a wave of corporations issued racial justice pledges following George Floyd’s death. Three new reports shed light on the progress they’ve made since:

  • Gains in board seats: The number of women and people of color on large companies’ corporate boards increased by 38% in 2022, according to this new report. Black people netted the largest gains, from holding 8.7% of board seats in 2020 to 11.9% in 2022.
  • Lack of transparency: “Corporate transparency about diversity goals is still murky,” says Forbes, which launched its first progress report on where big corporations stand on reaching their diversity and equity goals. The report spotlights progress at 3M, Bank of America, Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, Mastercard, McDonald’s, PepsiCo, UPS, Visa, Walgreens, and Walmart.
  • Progress, but more work to be done: Three-quarters of Black executives surveyed by CNBC saw a positive change in the hiring, retention, and promotion of Black employees since 2020. Yet half say there are still fewer opportunities for Black employees at their organizations, and two-thirds say Black employees are underrepresented in upper management.

If you want to know how the companies in your portfolio are advancing diversity and equity, try starting with the JUST Corporate Racial Equity Tracker and As You Sow Racial Justice Scorecard.

News you can use

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  • Millennials and Gen Zers are putting off financial planning because it’s too time-consuming and complicated. That’s according to a new Charles Schwab survey, which found 29% of young adults say they don’t have time to create a financial plan. If you, too, lack time to plan for the future or don’t know where to start (hey, we get it!), check out our quick tips for setting investment goals and getting the most out of your 401(k).
  • Honoring World Refugee Day, 40+ companies pledged to hire more than 13,000 refugees in Europe. The initiative, spearheaded by the Tent Partnership for Refugees, aims to help Ukrainians and others who have fled their homelands. Companies with the highest refugee hiring targets include Amazon, Marriott, Hilton, Starbucks, and ISS, according to the Associated Press.
  • Vertical farming companies have hit a bad patch. Growing crops indoors, stacked above each other and monitored by AI, has been touted as the future of agriculture. But funding is getting harder to harvest and some businesses have struggled as interest rates rose and profits remained scarce. AeroFarms and Kalera filed for bankruptcy in recent months. Exchange-traded funds like the Global X AgTech & Food Innovation ETF and iShares Emergent Food and AgTech Multisector ETF have also wilted.

Asking for a friend….

We know there is a lot to think about these days, and it can sometimes be a bit overwhelming. To help with those nagging questions and so you have useful resources at your fingertips, here are a few links to resources and past stories relevant in these turbulent times:

Checking your cleantech cheat sheet

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Everyone brings a different set of values to their investing. For those of you concerned about the well-being 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 while continuing to grow economically. We cover everything from solar and nuclear industries to how to support innovation in biodiversity and methane plugging and capture. And we continue to update the guide as FWIW covers new and exciting sectors. 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 in these exciting areas.

Click here to nerd out!

Before you go -

There’s still a place for the humble carrier pigeon in our disaster-prone world.

** FWIW team members own shares of Amazon, Bank of America, Citigroup, UPS, and Walmart.

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