Getting Rich with a Conscience – Sustainable Investing
A few months ago, I received an email from the agent of someone I didn't know – a former UN adviser, no less.
The name was Marc de Sousa Shields, and for the last 30 years, he'd been causing a ruckus in the world of investing and corporate responsibility.
Marc's agent asked if I'd like to have him on the Midlife Mastery Podcast to share what he knew about sustainable and responsible investing (SRI). Also known as ethical investing, socially responsible investing or just plain old sustainable investing, this topic (as I soon discovered) is a hotbed of cultural and financial change.
“This guy must have the wrong podcast”, I thought. We're all about midlife reinvention, here – not saving the oceans.
But with my curiosity piqued, I investigated further.
Marc co-founded the Social Investment Organization (SIO) of Canada, and along with advising the United Nations, was a member of the US Social Investment Forum International Committee.
He wrote Sustainable and Responsible Investment in Emerging Markets for the World Bank International Finance Corporation and led a USAID project on transitions to private capital.
He's written for leading online corporate sustainability magazines and is the author of The Sustainable Century by Design or Disaster (forthcoming). TheSustainableCentury.net blog and the Sustainable Century Podcast round out his publishing platforms.
Right, so he's done a few things on some big stages and he clearly knows a thing or two about sustainable investing. It would have been easy to think he's out of my league.
What I discovered, though, was a man who's passionate about making changes in the world. And since I really like people who make a ruckus for what they believe in, I accepted the offer and had him on the show.
I'm still pretty new in the podcast-o-sphere, so nervousness before an interview is normal for me. But Marc was different. I warmed to the guy immediately, and I could tell within minutes that he was as authentic as they come.
So we hit it off, and the whole conversation was a delight. But more than that, I learned a few things. Lots of things, actually. But the biggest takeaway was proof of the impact ordinary people are having in the world – for good.
From establishing organic urban farming in a semi-tropical climate to working in more than 80 countries, Marc has undoubtedly made a dent. But like all great stories, his journey wasn't without challenges. We talk about some of those on the podcast.
Also, he's just published a book about his adventures, and far from a dry investment book, it offers funny and engaging stories of triumph and setbacks; punctuated by chapters packed with practical advice for wealth creation. I'm quoting here from his book bio because he says it so succinctly, and it's absolutely accurate:
The book is about people who have stomped the devil of inertia and chosen to align their money with their values. Coverage includes:
- Why you need to give a damn about your investments
- Engaging investor stories to guide financial planning and investment decisions
- Ground-breaking financial and SRI asset allocation tool for profit and sustainability impact maximization
- Money makeover profiles
- How-to investing from one-click to deep-dive portfolio building
Replete with humour and irreverence, Invest Like You Give a Damn is for everyone from college graduates waiting tables, to mid-life Gen-Xers, to Boomers who want to live their ideals.
It includes specific and easily doable steps for achieving financial independence at different stages in life – with useful tools to get yourself there and still sleep at night.
I have to say my eyes are now open, and I doubt I'll ever treat investing or buying products quite the same way again.
His book is called “Invest Like You Give a Damn: Make Money, Change the World, Sleep Well at Night.” As a lifelong learner and keen investor, I can't recommend it enough.
I encourage you to listen in on our conversation because you'll learn that you can still have what you want but also feel great about how you're doing it.
Learn more about Marc and his work at www.thesustainablecentury.net.
Also published on Medium.