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, and we’re investing heavily in expanding our sustainable investments expertise – recently merging with San Francisco-based Wetherby Asset Management, an early adopter of impact investments across nearly all asset classes and sustainability themes to match your goals and impact intentions.
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.
We start by helping you crystallize and prioritize the issues you care about within the context of your overall financial plan. From there, we design solutions that can amplify the impact you want to make in these issues through your portfolio. We can utilize a variety of vehicles such as public equities, fixed income, community development finance institutions (CDFIs), and private market exposures such as private equity, debt or real assets and venture capital, to target specific issues such as climate change, sustainable resources, DEI, education, racial equality, financial inclusion, affordable housing, food systems and education, just to name a few.
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 member of Impact Capital Manager’s LP Leaders Circle.
Get started with sustainable investing
Find out how your investments can influence the world around you. Download this case study to learn how we helped the Laird Norton Family Foundation build a portfolio that generates both financial returns and social good.