Yen To is a strategic communications professional in the financial services sector with twenty years of experience. In this CoPower Green Bond investor story she describes what motivated her to invest 50% of her portfolio sustainably -- and what drove her to purchase a CoPower Green Bond.
In the face of the climate crisis, there are two diverging schools of thought.
The first is that we should turn away from community and protect ourselves financially and materially. We should pull our funds out of the market and we should invest in a doomsday bunker. This is the approach of some of my former Wall Street hedge fund colleagues. This is the opt-out approach. The end-of-the-world approach.
The second school of thought is that we should try and help direct the world towards a more positive future. We should divest from the companies that are causing the most harm and we should invest in the companies that are supporting a transition to a green economy. This is the opt-in approach. The better-world-is-possible approach.
Two years ago, I decided to opt in.
The Path to Impact
I have worked in the financial services sector for twenty years. Like many of my colleagues, I was invested traditionally. My entire portfolio was public securities -- mutual funds and stocks -- which were managed by a financial advisor at my bank. I saw my portfolio as separate from the other actions that I took to try and make the world better, including ethical consumerism and philanthropy. I believed that it was prudent to leave my portfolio to the experts to handle.
This changed in 2016.
I came to realize that my investments were misaligned with my values. I had been viewing my portfolio as separate from the other ways I use my money to do good and had only been focused on maximizing financial returns.
“When I took a step back, I realized that my investments were actually where I could have the most impact -- much greater than the potential impact of my philanthropy or ethical consumption.”
I also thought more about climate change. I read troubling research and became increasingly concerned about the state of our planet. I asked myself what I could do to try and stop the environmental collapse. The more I reflected, the more I realized: now’s the time to act.
Taking the Leap into Sustainable Investing
I decided that I would invest 50% of my total portfolio in sustainable investments; and that I’d focus my investing in companies and projects that are supporting the transition to a green economy in Canada.
I was excited -- and daunted.
There was an array of information out there and various products to consider. In addition, my investment advisor tried to talk me out of it. They said that sustainable investing might be risky and that “we should just stick with what we know”. I ended my relationship with this advisor and stuck to my plan.
Sustainable investor Yen To at her home in Toronto.
At the time, CoPower was a new company, and I’d never invested in a private market investment before. But the CoPower team was informative and transparent, and facilitated my introduction to the new bond with ease. I then added to my portfolio with the purchase of several green, public market investments, including green mutual funds and ETFs (exchange traded funds).
Making this shift in my portfolio was challenging at first. I felt comfortable with my traditional portfolio and sustainable investing was new to me. It was a lot of money that I was moving, and I didn’t want to get it wrong.
Two Years Later: Portfolio Performance
Nearly two years later, things are going well.
The sustainable investment portion of my portfolio is doing very well financially, nearly on-par with my traditional portfolio.
Environmentally, it’s tougher to assess the portfolio's performance, but there are a few bright spots -- including my CoPower Green Bonds, which have helped generate over 55,000 kilowatt hours of clean energy since I made my investment.
And overall, it is very satisfying to know that my money is where I want it to be, contributing to developing the kind of economy I want to see.
"As for next steps, in the coming years I’m looking to transition the remaining 50% of my portfolio into sustainable investments to achieve a 100% sustainable portfolio."
Additionally, I’ve participated in Toronto Foundation’s Vision2020 cohort, a philanthropy program for millennials and Generation X-ers who want to give back. Through the program, I’ve also been able to align my philanthropy and my sustainable investing -- and I plan to continue to help my foundation grow
There are resources out there to help, products to invest in, and a community of sustainable investors who can support.
The time is now.
The investor testimonials/endorsements that appear on this page were solicited by CoPower Inc. and may not be representative of the views of other investors or potential investors in CoPower Green Bonds or any other securities offered or that may be offered by affiliates of CoPower Inc.
CoPower Inc. is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Vancity Community Investment Bank (VCIB). CoPower Inc. is an exempt market dealer registered in Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Québec, Saskatchewan and Yukon (the “Permitted Jurisdictions CoPower Inc., is the Manager of CoPower Finance Inc., and lead selling agent of Green Bonds. CoPower Finance Inc. is the issuer of CoPower Green Bonds and funds loans for Clean Energy Projects.
The information provided herein is intended for informational purposes only and is not intended to constitute a public offer, or investment advice or financial, legal, accounting, tax or other advice and should not be relied upon for such purpose. Always consult a professional regarding your specific needs and circumstances. Securities offered by affiliates of CoPower Inc. and sold by CoPower Inc. are available only to those investors resident in the Permitted Jurisdictions who meet certain legal requirements. Please carefully read the applicable offering documents and ensure that your questions are thoroughly answered by a dealing representative before investing, past performance may not be repeated. Green Bonds purchased through CoPower Inc., are not eligible for protection by the Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation or any other government insurer or by VCIB.