ZooShare investor Betty-Anne Howard is a “financial planner with a social conscience”, meaning she cares about the environment, the world, and how people make their money. While in school, Betty-Anne learned a new way to see the world, and now she passionately champions protecting that world through the UN’s Principles for Sustainable Investment.
When did you become passionate about the environment?
I’ve always been passionate about the environment…Part of that was because I had to be: We grew up poor, we didn’t have a lot, so we had to reduce, reuse and recycle out of necessity! In the early 80s, when I was in my late 20s, I learned about and developed a feminist construct that allowed me to see the whole picture…What I learned through feminist theory was respect, power…and care for the community and other communities, and that strengthened my passion for the environment.
Why did you decide to invest in ZooShare?
ZooShare sent out a post to the members of the Responsible Investment Association (RIA) asking impact investors to share their stories. As a result of [Frances] reaching out to me, I decided to take a closer look, and I thought “this is something I could really get into”. I’m a big believer of practicing what I preach, like my involvement with the RIA and micro-enterprise lending through KIVA…It just made sense to me, especially with the 7% return, I thought “I would like to get behind ZooShare”.
What are some projects you think other ZooShare supporters would be interested in?
There are many things that are happening out in the community, as well as some things that are unique to Kingston. For example, I’m part of a a group that’s associated with Wintergreen Co-op…and I’ve been a member of SWITCH for about 5 years…
Wherever I go and whatever I do, I look for opportunities to talk about the environment and to talk about issues related to being socially responsible…For example, in my work, I wanted to hear from money managers, to what extent–if at all–we were implementing the UN Principles for Sustainable Investment, because, Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance issues (ESG) form the basis for Socially Responsible Investing (SRI). I spoke with [one of my managers] about [implementing SRI principals and] he was completely behind it, he was prepared to send out a memo about it…and later that week, he received a memo from [the parent company] asking for the same type of transparency! I was excited and thrilled and so proud of [the parent company]…My ideal goal is to not have a separate group of funds called SRIs, I want these principals to be completely integrated in every part of every portfolio manager’s investment decisions…That’s my dream.