As a women-owned, women-led firm, we know that the news of the leaked SCOTUS decision to overturn Roe v. Wade has left many reeling. Protests have erupted across the country and many people are holding their breath to see what comes next. If you want to take action, there are a few options. You can donate. You can assemble. And you can personally investigate where your money is making an impact — both positive and negative.
For example, do you have an IRA, 401k, or other retirement account? Brokerage or other investment account? If you do, then your money is likely being funneled into corporations and institutions that have huge influence over decisions facing our daily lives — including those around reproductive rights. However, many have never taken the time to scrutinize those specific investments. People tend to put their trust in brokers and financial institutions to choose where our money goes — typically with the intention of getting the best financial returns. But is your money making an impact that truly aligns with our values?
This movement by SCOTUS to overturn abortion rights did not happen overnight. In a piece written for the Brennan Center for Justice in 2020 — Follow the Money Behind Anti-Abortion Laws — Ciara Torres-Spelliscy reminds us that “these laws don’t spring out of nowhere. Lawmakers with election coffers full of corporate money wrote these laws to limit women’s reproductive choices.”
This is precisely where ESG (environmental, social, and governance) investing and impact investing come into play. It is time that we view these powerful tools not just in the context of corporations and financial institutions — but as a means for individual consumers to create systemic change. THIS is where you as an individual have real power.
As consumers and investors, we are among the most important stakeholders for businesses. They rely on our capital to finance their operations, which actually gives us immense influence to transform our world. This is exactly why ESG investing and impact investing are powerful tools in the fight to protect and elevate everyone who is impacted by reproductive rights.
This begs two questions: What does it mean to align your money with your values, and how is it actually possible? We think this is a good place to start:
1. BECOME AN EDUCATED AND ACTIVE INVESTOR
Do your homework in terms of how a company is managed, what its stances are on reproductive rights, and its strategies to achieve them. Call the financial institutions managing your retirement funds and ask them the hard questions — including whether or not they can ensure that 0% of your investments are linked to anti-abortion and restrictive reproductive rights politicians, think tanks, and lobbyists.
There are truly so many ways to have control over your money. But without educating ourselves, we give that power over to institutions and corporations that do not have our best interest and values at heart. In order to take that power back, we need to know what tools we have at our disposal. A great place to start is Eva Yazhari’s book: The Good Your Money Can Do: Becoming a Conscious Investor. Throughout the book, she introduces her own concept of impact investing, and shares the story of her mindset shift toward investing with awareness.
2. CHOOSE FINANCIAL PARTNERS THAT CARE ABOUT REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS
Seek out the social entrepreneurs, financial institutions, and impact investment managers who are creating financial vehicles, funds, and solutions that address abortion bans — and, specifically, support expanding access to reproductive health. For example, financial institutions like ImpactAssets and Ellevest are providing pathways to ESG funds that are intentionally generating a positive social impact alongside financial returns worldwide. The ImpactAssets 50 list is a great resource to begin research on the impact investing sector.
3. REMEMBER YOUR AGENCY
As a consumer and investor, you have incredible power. Don’t forget that. The “set it and leave it” mentality of retirement investing and purchase decisions has to be left behind. When you keep social impact as your bottom line, you have the power to create change with your money — and to encourage your sphere of influence to do the same.
The bottom line is: Your money has power. And now is the time to use it.
About Lebec Consulting
Lebec Consulting is a woman-owned and women-led firm that advises corporations, foundations, high-net-worth individuals, financial institutions and entrepreneurs on how to achieve their greatest social impact through philanthropy, impact investing and ESG investing. The consulting firm has a clear understanding of how these financial tools can be leveraged for deep impact and societal change, helping their Clients align more capital with the right people, organizations and social innovators who are moving the needle on the world’s most pressing issues.