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#ebbfspirit – The spiritual transformation of impact investing, views of #ebbfmembers Jenna Ni

Jenna Nicholas recently recognised with Stanford’s Social Change Leadership Award and Daryn Dodson bring many years of experience in working with or creating innovative financial impact investment solutions across continents. We heard from Daryn and Jenna how they have seen a number of philanthropic and university foundations, personal wealth, faith-based institutions leading a shift of investment to better align their values with where they put their money.

. The spiritual transformation of impact investing

Divest Invest is the new financial trend which is seeing the values-based individuals in those institutions, influencing the decisions of organizations and communities by divesting from funds and companies involved in carbon fossil fuel, polluting, arms creation and so on and instead investing in green energy or water purification or other similarly positive investments.

Spirituality is interestingly also at the heart of one of the oldest and definitely a pioneer of responsible investing,

the Calvert Investments, with its founder Wayne Silby very much inspired by his Buddhist beliefs bringing a framework of justice to the world of investment.

Values-based individuals and organizations are now very actively using their wealth to influence, they are finding ways to make their money create a positive difference even when they are sleeping at night.

What is spiritual capital?

Jenna thinks it is bringing one’s full self to one’s work, sadly many people working in finance see their day job as one thing and then their volunteer or values-based activity restricted to outside work activities or to a Sunday; but the depth of one’s being or values do not show up fully where they work. Daryn sees spiritual capital as assets people have internally and that they bring into organizations and into the consultation and into their decision making

What key questions should people who wish to invest more responsibly ask?

The key good questions to start from are self reflection ones that start from asking oneself what is important to me, what values, what areas of society do I wish to influence. Being clear about the length of time you have available to keep your amount invested. Attending some of the big responsible investment events is where one can familiarise oneself on the key questions, possibilities and innovative responsible trends.

How did the financial crisis of 2008 affect the world of investment?

Apart from highlighting the obvious risks of focusing on short term profits and showing how totally unacceptable and the dire consequences of speculating on basic needs of a human being such as their home it also created an interesting side effect. Right now the most talented university and MBA graduates no longer see Wall Street as their number 1 option but instead are exploring new ways to be involved in the world of finance. And this is creating some very exciting new ways to see and to make finance happen.

This is the kind of correction to injustice, wish to get into action quickly and make things right that is growing amongst younger generations and making the change faster.

What would be your closing suggestion to help us move towards more just financial investments?

Jenna mentions how the fact that we are asking these questions about how to engage with companies to make sure the vision is not only maximising profits but also values is the best starting point. There is such power in having communities and events such as these we are having at ebbf, explore daily reflections around these kinds of aspects in work, specially if we live by the most elevated way to see work: “work is worship” Daryn tries to create action but also moments of reflection, every day he writes on a journal three bullet points there on how spirituality shows up in his work. A life experiment to see if he is more connected to certain values and aspects than others.

Want to explore more implications of spiritual values in finance and in our workplaces?

Join ebbf’s next international event dedicated to this theme:

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