“We get much more satisfaction doing good with our investments than simply watching them grow. If you can earn a strong return, then it’s a double bonus.”

It’s hard to argue with Ab Ashley’s logic. This month we sat down with Ab, a retired investment advisor with Mennonite Savings and Credit Union (MSCU), to discuss his membership in Community Energy Development Co-operative and the growth of community minded, professional investment.

Why are you a member and investor in Community Energy Development Co-operative?

We like to put our money where our mouth is and support companies who are doing the world a service. This includes green energy and ending reliance on fossil fuels. Our roof isn’t a good fit for solar panels, but we can support renewable energy by investing in projects through organizations like CED Co-op.

I had connections with some of the founders of CED Co-op, and their installer, Vigor Clean Tech, put a solar system on the roof of the Mennonite Savings and Credit Union branch where I worked, so I trusted them. I know a lot of people who had solar installed at their home or church by Vigor as well.

You have an interesting perspective, coming from a finance and investment background. Are these types of investments a trend you’re seeing?

Yes, definitely. About 10 years ago I started to see and hear people looking for investments that were ethical or green, but at that time we didn’t have any products that matched their expectations. Over the years the movement has grown and we are seeing green bonds, ethical funds, and divestment gain momentum.

What convinced you to invest in Community Energy Development Co-operative specifically?

One of the tipping points was the opportunity to hold these funds in my RRSP. That was a unique feature that made it more interesting to invest in. I understand now you can invest through your TFSA as well.

The local connection means a lot to us too. Even though the solar systems are across the province, knowing that the business is local and knowing the people behind it gives us confidence.

In addition, there are few opportunities that were 100% green. There are funds without fossil fuels that still invested in the automotive industry – not exactly a good match if you’re trying not to support fuel production. With CED Co-op it’s 100% green. You are producing clean energy and supporting the whole green economy.

You mentioned that it’s important to support a green economy – what has shaped that feeling and decision?

I am living through and seeing the effects of climate change and higher-consumption behaviours. We don’t just hear it on the news. You see the weather progressively changing, you sit in traffic for hours, and you see monster houses built on the outskirts of town. We have to smarten up.

Having been to Europe you experience the high speed trains, solar panels on more buildings, and smaller, smarter homes and appliances. There is no reason why that can’t work here. We can make better choices and quit wasting our resources. I never grew up thinking this way, but over the years we have educated ourselves. We have learned a lot from friends who are teaching us what we can do as individuals.

I realize it’s a slow process, but we do what we can. Whichever generation you’re in you want to leave the next generation at a better place than you were. I won’t be around for what ultimately happens, but we are leaving trouble for our children and grandchildren down the road. We want to do our part to stop that.

Thank you to Ab Ashley for sharing the satisfaction he gets from doing good with his investments while watching them grow.

Each month we feature a member story. One of our members explains what made them choose CED Co-op, and why they believe in community minded professional investment.


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