Sustainable Investing

A Return on Your Money — and the Issues You Want to Impact

Investing can do more than build personal wealth. It can be a powerful tool to improve the world we live in. At Laird Norton Wealth Management, we can help you achieve both. We call this intersection between your financial and non-financial objectives sustainable investing (SI).

Many terms and strategies fit within our sustainable umbrella – ESG, socially responsible investing (SRI), impact investing, program-related investing or catalytic investing, to name a few. Regardless of which strategies will work best for you (could be one or many), they all serve a bigger purpose: activating your portfolio to achieve your financial goals while prioritizing the environmental and social issues you care about most and influencing them in a positive way.

Social & Environmental Goals Are Entwined with Our Mission

Our desire to help families and foundations achieve their financial goals while affecting positive environmental and social change is deeply rooted in our culture. With deep roots in the Pacific Northwest, our founders and owners (the Laird and Norton families) were pioneers in sustainable investing, and their family foundation is now well on its way toward being 100% invested in sustainability-focused funds and projects.

We apply the successes and lessons learned from those endeavors to your own social and environmental aspirations. The level of commitment and investment is up to you.

Choose Your Impact

Sustainable investing is not a one-size-fits all endeavor. We rely on a mosaic of pointed conversations and a variety of evaluation tools to identify your environmental, societal and values-based objectives. This helps determine the appropriate investment approach and opportunities for your aims.

Based on your finances, time horizon and life goals, we can implement one or more sustainable investing strategies, from negative/positive screening to ESG integration to impact and catalytic investments. And we choose the most effective investment vehicles within each strategy, ranging from public equity and fixed income funds that integrate ESG into their decision-making; to private equity and debt offerings that target specific impact (climate change, gender diversity, education, racial equality or affordable housing), including Community Development Finance Institutions (CDFIs); and/or direct investment in the debt or equity of private companies and organizations that score highly on your ESG criteria.

While the total portfolio construction is our primary focus, there is value in exposing you to the underlying “ingredients” making up the portfolio. To ensure you see the widest array of these options, we maintain deep relationships with sustainable investment asset managers—holding each to the same strict criteria we use for all our asset managers. And we use our industry contacts and influence to advocate for fund changes or entirely new funds that match the priorities of our clients. After all, experience and scale have their benefits.

Sustainable Investing Doesn’t Mean Sacrificing Returns

We apply the same rigorous due diligence to sustainable investments, as to our other portfolio holdings. Here, success requires more than the traditional measures of risk and return. We also evaluate the “utility of return” – the combination of financial return and social value of an investment. And we begin every diligence process with the premise that an investor does not have to give up return, and that the potential return on any investment should always justify the risk.

Many of our clients start small by allocating a limited portion of their portfolio to sustainable investing and expanding their allocation over time. We encourage this deliberate approach and will be there every step of the way.

Our Commitment to Sustainability

We are committed to Corporate Social Responsibility in our own business practices. To help reduce our own impact, Laird Norton Wealth Management annually tracks the carbon output of our operations, including employee commutes, and actively tries to reduce that impact by encouraging use of public transportation.

We financially support programs in both water and electricity conservation undertaken by utilities and non-profit organizations, such as the Bonneville Environmental Foundation.

We stay current on impact and socially responsible investing trends as a corporate member of Confluence Philanthropy.

Get started with impact investing

Find out how your investments can align with your values while providing a return. Download this interview with previous LNWM CIO Gino Perrina and Jeanne Goussev, senior director, fiduciary development at LNWM.