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BRI or ESG or both, MMM 2-14-2011

BRI OR ESG or both?

Monday Morning Message, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine’s Day to all of you!  If you are a reader of the MMM you hold a special place in my heart and my prayers for you and your family.  We are blessed to know how each of you are in a special place where God is using you in unique and wonderful ways.  This is one of the most exciting weeks of the year for Christian Advisors who celebrate together at the National Conference for Kingdom Advisors.  We trust you will remember all of us as we worship our Lord and Savior while also being open to new ways to serve our clients with teachings from many wonderful leaders.

There will be several sessions that emphasize Biblically Responsible Investing (BRI) at this conference but I wondered how many people realize how large the Environmental, Social, & Governance (ESG) universe of investors has become?  While the movement toward BRI has attracted cumulative funds from investors in the billions, ESG investors have attracted trillions.  The estimates are that worldwide interest in ESG investments have brought almost cult like adherence to the importance of investments with this criteria.  Why then, is it apparent that BRI followers are so far behind in what appears to be a lack of interest on the part of believers who would choose to place their portfolios closer to their Bible?

Ric Cannada, chancellor of Reformed Theological Seminary believes that part of the problem lies in the fact that the people who are in our churches today, are greatly unfamiliar with Biblical truth.  Since so many of us continue to only drink in the baby’s milk from the Bible instead of working toward taking in  the meat of Scripture, it is becoming harder to use the Bible as our call to action for those seeking guidance.  It does begin with each of us who name the name of Christ and then go to our unique calling to be a light to the world.

Among ESG investors, they no longer think that there is a downside to being a responsible investor.  When I talk with people about BRI, one of the greatest sticking points is still the fear that they will not make as much money if they align their beliefs with their portfolio.  Despite the fact that most independent academic studies show that is not the case, that resistance is still prevalent.   I believe that both of these investment goals have admirable intentions.  The fact that they also bring opportunity in all of its masks and virtues means that we can move forward with all good intentions but hopefully without checking our brains at the vestibule. 

Proverbs 13:14-16 (RSV) “The teaching of the wise is a fountain of life, that one may avoid the snares of death.  Good sense wins favor, but the way of the faithless is their ruin.  In everything a prudent man acts with knowledge, but a fool flaunts his folly.”