Since our founding, Abacus Wealth Partners has focused on the impact of our advice and investments on the larger community. Below, you can read about our philosophy of sustainable investing, our role as a founding member of B Corporation, our corporate footprint, our investments in social private equity, and our charitable activities.
Sustainable investing is not a sideshow for us—it is central to how we manage portfolios for the majority of our clients. Given that one of our co-founders was born in South Africa, where the apartheid regime was the catalyst for the socially responsible investing movement’s start in the U.S., it’s no surprise that Abacus has been focused on impact investing from the start. However, there are many limitations with social investing, including high costs, underperformance compared with unscreened benchmarks, tax inefficiency and a lack of consistent standards for measuring impact.
In February 2008, our clients provided the seed funding for the first environmentally screened, industry neutral, and globally diversified passive (index) equity funds in the marketplace. To date, these funds have fulfilled their objective of shifting capital toward the most environmentally responsible corporations while closely tracking market benchmarks.
We are actively seeking to expand the positive good we can express in the world through the allocation of our clients’ funds, as we believe this reduces legal and regulatory risk, expresses our values, and enhances the potential for long-term, sustainable social structures and investment returns.
To learn more about the difference between socially responsible investing and sustainable investing, please read “Sustainable Investing: The Advantages Over Socially Responsible Investing.”
Our Corporate Footprint
Beyond investing, Abacus has taken a number of steps to reduce our environmental footprint:
- Encourage telecommuting for many employees
- Purchase hybrid and electric vehicles for company use
- Use 90% post-consumer recycled paper for all internal and external printing and copying, and when possible, print double-sided
- Improve our offices with environmentally responsible building materials and furnishings
- Reduce commercial air travel by using video-conferencing for both internal and client meetings
Abacus Is a Founding B Corp
What is a B Corp? It’s a certification that goes beyond looking at just our products—it looks at our entire company and the impact we have on our workforce, suppliers, community and the environment. Think of it as a certification for sustainable business like “fair trade” for coffee or “LEED” for green buildings. You can learn more about the business practices behind our products by checking out our B Corp Impact Report.
B Lab publishes Impact Reports for all Certified B Corporations, so you can learn more about hundreds of companies that meet the same rigorous, independent and transparent standards of social and environmental performance that we do.
Social Private Equity
For more than 10 years, Abacus has been a leading investor in private companies focused on financial and social results. We were one of the first SEC Registered Investment Advisors to make equity investments in microfinance institutions that make very small loans to impoverished but ambitious micro-entrepreneurs. Combined with others, our clients’ funds have helped millions of people fund businesses to help alleviate the poverty they and their families have lived in for generations.
We have also invested a portion of some clients’ capital in other impact investments, including funds focused on renewable energy, health and wellness products, biomedical devices, and energy infrastructure projects.