Do You Have a Sustainability Statement for Your Practice?
Corporate sustainability statements have become a requirement in recent years as stakeholders have increasingly demanded to know what companies are doing about important issues like governance and risk, community involvement, employee policies and environmental responsibility.
Some advisors are finding that clients and prospects, especially Millennials, are inquiring about their sustainability practices. If you find yourself being asked this question, the time may have come to develop a sustainability statement for your practice.
Developing a Sustainability Statement
There are three good reasons to craft a written sustainability statement.
- It helps you inventory the sustainable practices in which you are currently engaged and helps define your sustainability priorities going forward.
- Organizing sustainable policies ensures that all members of your practice are communicating the same message to clients and the public.
- A written statement reflects a tangible commitment to sustainable practices to clients, employees and the general public.
Your sustainability statement, of course, will not approach the complexity of a major multinational company, but your practice does have an environmental and social impact, even if it’s only local in nature.
There are several key elements that an advisor should include in his or her sustainability statement, including:
- A mission statement and core values
- Summary of key environmental and community impacts
- How you anticipate addressing these impacts
Examples to Get You Started
There are four sustainability issues that may be germane to any advisor, including:
- Sustainable Investing—Competitive long-term returns and environmental, governance and social impact screens are not mutually exclusive. Advisors can provide their views on sustainable investing and discuss the sustainable investment options they make available on their platform.
- Employees—People want to work with organizations that treat their employees well and provide equal access to opportunities. Advisors can discuss hiring and professional development practices, as well as the diversity of their staff.
- Operations—Advisors may want to discuss the ways in which they mitigate the environmental impact of running their business (e.g., recycling of office waste, energy efficiency).
- Community Involvement—Most advisors are already working to better their communities. Any statement should articulate the vision and motivation that drives community involvement, and describe the groups and causes that are receiving financial and volunteer support.
Once you’ve developed your sustainability statement, be sure to post it on your Web site, in your client waiting area and internal office space. You may even want to incorporate it into your social media marketing efforts.
See referenced disclosure (2) at http://blog.americanportfolios.com/disclosures/