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In late October our firm participated in the Conservation Alliance Backyard Collective. This locally based organizations hosts this annual work detail to bring together member company employees for a half day of trail work, invasive species removal and other projects to improve some of our favorite natural places. It’s followed by a meal where companies connect and learn about efforts and opportunities related to protecting and preserving wild places throughout America. Cascade Financial Strategies, along with many other local companies who are members of CA was invited to participate in the productive and fun day.

I really appreciate CA not just for the amazing and important work they are doing, but because of the model they’ve built for the companies that support them. Founded by outdoor companies desiring to support conservation efforts, the organization has disbursed over 20 million since 1989! It just makes so much sense that the outdoor industry would be at the forefront of initiatives to protect and improve the places where their customers use what they purchase from them. CA was kind enough to let CFS be a member as well even though financial planning and investment management are not usually considered “outdoor” industry type work. It’s easy enough to make a connection to our business though, and almost every other business in town, when you consider that a large portion of our local economy is connected to people visiting or moving to this beautiful place in order to enjoy the outdoors in some manner.

CA’s model of connecting with their business members also includes giving each business a vote regarding the conservation projects that they fund each year. Many larger companies turn this decision over to their employees, allowing them to have a real influence on the places and conservation issues that they care about.

Most of the business members of CA are astute enough to know also that their customers consist of a significant and fast growing population that not only want their purchases to provide quality products, but also to come from companies who are making a positive impact in their communities. This growing demand by consumers is also fueling the SRI space with publicly traded companies, and it’s a big reason why it makes so much sense to invest along these lines. Not only are these companies attracting consumers, but they treat their employees well, they support their local communities and also national causes, and they generally tend to conduct all of their business practices in a manner that leads to overall success. What’s not to like about the investment potential of companies who conduct their operations in this manner? This is just one more reason to consider looking into matching your investments with your values and the causes that you care about.

Jack Schniepp is the owner of Cascade Financial Strategies in Bend, Oregon. If you are interested in finding out more about how your current portfolio is positioned related to SRI investment criteria you can receive a complimentary evaluation by selecting the “Impact Assessment” on the CFS website.

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