This month we have the pleasure of a Q&A with Community Energy Development Co-operative member Scott Beech. Scott shared his thoughts about investing with CED Co-op, why aligning investment with values is important, and reminded us that the two aren’t mutually exclusive.
Why are you a member and investor in Community Energy Development Co-operative?
For me, membership was just the vehicle for making an investment. I wanted to invest in CED Co-op because I saw value in both the financial returns, and social returns it offered. Some of these types of investments are positioned as if there is a trade-off between financial return and social impact, but I don’t think that needs to be the case. I believe that you can have both risk-appropriate return rates and deliver positive social return. Impact investing is a great model where you can make the world a better place and look after your financial needs at the same time.
Explain a little more – how are you making the world a better place?
I believe we need to shift our economy away from carbon fuels and address climate change. This fundamentally comes down to how we produce energy. As more of us align our money with our values by divesting from fossil fuels we can reduce the amount of carbon we’re using and put less stress on the planet. For me it isn’t about looking “green” or absolving yourself of responsibility. If we want a healthy planet, this is the direction we need to go. I can help in some small way by making sure my choices and investments align with that direction.
So why not just put solar panels on your roof, or make lifestyle changes?
You can certainly start with lifestyle changes – our family updated the energy efficiency of our home, we drive a hybrid vehicle, and purchase wisely – but you can have a bigger impact environmentally, and see greater financial rewards from investing. Organizations like CED Co-op implement large scale solar projects, which is going to be more impactful than me putting up a few solar panels on my roof. I also looked at the financial investment and payback, and investing in the co-op provides a better financial return than installing my own solar system would have.
Have you pursued other investment opportunities like CED Co-op?
I’m trying to divest my portfolio from carbon where I can, so I have invested in some “clean” funds. I looked into other organizations investing in renewable energy projects like CED Co-op, but I didn’t feel that their risk and return profile was a good fit for me. CED Co-op had a better rate of return and better structured offer than others I looked at. As well, I know the people behind the co-op and I trust them. That personal relationship gives me an additional level of comfort. I know my investment is well taken care of, and I can recommend CED Co-op to others.
Any closing thoughts for us, or advice for future members and investors?
Take a step back and look at your investments and what they’re accomplishing. Look at both the financial returns, as well as the impact that industry has on our world. Whether it is fossil fuels, military technologies, or high tech, every industry has social, environmental, and political factors that I think need to be considered alongside the usual financial risk and reward calculations.
It isn’t about sacrifice. It’s that investments which have a negative impact on the planet won’t be successful in the long term. Look at the TSX over the last year. As oil becomes unattractive economically it can have a big impact on your portfolio.
Align your investments with your values, and be smart about the real risks and rewards of investing.
Thank you to Scott Beech for sharing the relationship he sees between financial risk/reward, and social/environmental risk/reward.
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. Contact us to share your story: firstname.lastname@example.org