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Whole Finance: How Values-Driven Divestment Created the Socially Responsible Investment (SRI) Market




I sat down with SRI expert, Katherine Burstein, CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst ®) and Financial Advisor at Pell Wealth Partners in New York City (http://www.ameripriseadvisors.com/katherine.burstein/) to better understand how one matches profit to personal values.


Anne Williams: What are the differences between Socially Responsible Investing (SRI), Impact Investing (II) and Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) factor investing?

Katherine Burstein: SRI has traditionally connoted negative screening: e.g. not investing in weaponry, tobacco or other industries in conflict with an investor’s values.

The SRI industry got its start in the 1980s as part of the anti-apartheid movement. Over time, it began to represent positive as well as negative screening, with investors seeking out companies that proactively promote certain value sets. This would include practices such as treating workers above industry standard or employing innovative technology that conserves energy and water.

II is primarily associated with positive screening that is directly linked to measurable social or environmental outcomes. For example, a company might set in motion a program to meet a stated quantifiable reduction in gas emissions over a five-year period.

ESG factor investing is also mostly indicative of positive screening and currently acts as an umbrella term for the values-conscious investor. ESG factors are the parameters that socially responsible and impact investors use to analyze companies. ESG factors include issues such as sustainable use of natural resources, pollution prevention, labor relations, gender equality, diversity, human rights, responsible lending, transparency and shareholder rights, among many other factors.

AW: How are ESG factors currently analyzed?

KB: Analysis of ESG factors within a given company is largely dependent upon voluntary reports. Some companies provide a lot of information others very little or in vague terms. Data providers such as MSCI and Bloomberg now collect ESG data points from publicly traded companies and make the data available to their subscribers.

Much of the data analysis comes from the academic realm – for example, Harvard Business School – in addition to the financial sector itself.

AW: What have been the obstacles to including ESG factors in financial analysis?

KB: In large part, tradition. The historical mindset has been that values and profit are at odds. We now have data that demonstrates that there can be an economic benefit to values-based investment choices.

For example, we now have good data that suggests having women in leadership can be an indicator of higher profit and lower risk for companies. The value of diversity has resulted in the creation of several funds focused on companies that support and maintain the advancement of women.

We have also seen data that negative screening (excluding companies with poor ESG performance) can help moderate downside risk in a portfolio. One example would be the BP oil spill into the Gulf of Mexico. MSCI, an ESG factor data provider who assigns ESG scores to companies, rated BP’s Health and Safety record in the lowest quartile before the 2010 spill, giving subscribers the option in advance to move their money to other companies.

AW: How might ESG factor analysis become more standardized within the financial industry?

KB: Advisory boards such as SASB (the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board) have been created to encourage more standardized reporting on corporations’ ESG performance. Over time, this movement may make it easier for investors to gain standardized information and make more informed decisions.

AW: For an individual who wants to start by making small steps into the SRI arena, where would you suggest beginning?

KB: Take a moment to consider where might be areas of opportunity in your investment portfolio that align with your overall goals, risk tolerance and time horizon. Whether it be your local bank, your financial advisor, or online lists of socially responsible mutual funds (see http://charts.ussif.org/mfpc/, for example), there are many resources available for those just getting started.

Another way to get involved would be speaking up at the institution where you work or at your alma mater (college or university). If that organization holds investments through a pension plan, or endowment, and you are a stakeholder in some way, you can provide feedback that sustainability is important to you.

AW: Parting words?

KB: Thanks for talking with me, Anne! I’d like to point out that sustainability is one parameter of evaluating an investment and it is important to remember that there is no perfect company. For example, a retail company may have an advanced system for reducing waste in its supply chain, but may also have issues with employee relations. Or an energy company be making strides towards renewable, clean energy solutions, but also have issues with transparency and communicating with shareholders.

Also, it’s important to keep in mind that just because a company is sustainable, doesn’t always mean it’s a good investment. It’s always to consider investment options within the context of an overall financial plan suited to your unique goals.

For those interested, more information on this topic can be found in the Green Money Journal (http://www.greenmoneyjournal.com), the USSIF (Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment - http://www.ussif.org/), Bloomberg (http://www.bloomberg.com/sustainability/) and the MSCI (Morgan Stanley Capital International) ESG indexes (http://www.msci.com/products/indexes/esg/).

Katherine Burstein, CFA, specializes in Socially Responsible and Impact Investing with the aim of not only helping clients achieve financial and life goals, but also social and environmental ones through generating positive social and environmental impact. Learn more about Katherine here: http://www.ameripriseadvisors.com/katherine.burstein/.

Dr. Anne Williams, ND is a natural health expert who specializes in women’s health and cardiovascular disease. She helps her patients live life to its fullest, with energy and enthusiasm. Learn more about Dr. Anne here: here


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07/24/18

Dr. Peter's Mental Health Protocols Highlighted on Emerson Ecologics

07.24.2018

Dr. Peter Bongiorno teaches physicians all around the country about his experience protocols for mental health. He has compiled this work for nutraceutical distributor Emerson Ecologics. We are proud of Dr. Peter as his work is getting more and more national attention.


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07/18/18

Is The Pill Sabotaging Your Health?

Well + Good Article from May 2016

Can the pill alter gut function and the microbiome? It seems the answer is yes, and it can even be a strong factor in inflammatory issues like Crohn's disease, as well as deplete nutrients and change liver function.

This interview from Well+Good interviews Dr. Robin Berzin of Parsley Health and Dr. Peter Bongiorno of Inner Source Health.

CLICK HERE FOR ARTICLE


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07/01/18

Hot Baths for Heart Health

07.01.2018

by Peter Bongiorno ND, LAc www.InnerSourceHealth.com

A hot bath feels nice, and may be just what your heart needs. A new article in the prestigious journal Nature looks at this old time naturopathic hydrotherapy.

A Japanese study of 873 seniors showed that 5 hot baths a week, with an average temperature of 106 degree can help the heart. These men and women aged between 60 and 76 years and 164 of them were followed for 5 years. In that time, it was shown that those who took the baths had improved markers of artery plaque blockages (athersosclerosis) and bettercontrols of blood pressures within the body as well.

CLICK HERE FOR RESEARCH ARTICLE


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06/19/18

Weight Loss Without Calorie Counting? Does intermittent fasting really work?

06.19.2018

Despite the overall increase interest in health, about one third of people are considered obese Medical science is always looking for new ways to balance weight. Intermittent fasting is a relatively new take on an old idea: fasting. The principle of fasting is pretty simple – when you are not taking food in, the body has a chance to clean out.


Intermittent fasting has been touted has a new weight loss tool – but does it work?


A research team from the University of Illinois took on this very question and asked 23 obese volunteers to eat only between the hours of 10AM and 6PM – which is an 8-hour window. During this time, the volunteers could eat what they wanted. For the remaining time, only water was allowed.....

CLICK THE PDF BELOW to learn what the study found, and the best ways to lose weight in a healthy way

CLICK HERE FOR FULL ARTICLE ON PDF


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06/06/18

Kate Spade and Healing Depression

what can learn and what can we do differently?

06.06.2018

Another tragic celebrity suicide.

More antidepressants are being used than ever, with more suicides than ever - it makes no sense...

Learn Dr. Peter's thoughts about antidepressants and what needs to happen to decrease these tragic events.

CLICK HERE FOR FULL ARTICLE ON PSYCHOLOGY TODAY


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05/23/18

Self-Criticism - article in the NY Times

05.23.2018

Self-criticism is at the core of much anxiety.

A recent NY Times article entitled "Why You Should Stop Being So Hard on Yourself" does a very good job addressing the situation, to help bring consciousness to our beating ourselves up, over and over, which can contribute to long term anxiety, obsessiveness, panic disorder and will make worse any condition affected by stress.

When we address the criticism we place on ourselves, we can start to remove a heavy burden that demands our energy and doesn't allow us to live to our potential.

READ ARTICLE HERE


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12/26/17

Mood formulas from Dr. Peter Bongiorno: Mood Systems Balance and Neurotransmitter Balance

As a sought-after speaker and consultant in the field of natural, functional and integrative health, Dr. Bongiorno has created unique formulations to help balance mood and neurotransmitters. His latest formulations for mood, created with Douglas Laboratories are used by physicians around the country, and around the world:

Mood Systems Balance†™: combines a truly unique blend of ingredients to support the underlying physiologic processes in the body that are key for healthy mood. These compounds work on blood sugar balance, support the stress system, and help the digestive tract, along with a balancing effect on inflammation. It uses saffron extract, rhodiola, curcumin, chromium and berberine. It is often used with Dr. Peter's Neurotransmitter balance when indicated for more total mood lifting support. This formulation was among the first to use saffron as part of a mood support complex.

Neurotransmitter Balance †™ utilizes several well-researched ingredients known to support mood and emotion by helping support the neurotransmitter system. Its unique blend includes SAMe, macuna, Venetron (a Chinese herb with thousands of years of historical use), 5-HTP, and tyrosine. Individually, these have been researched for their mood benefit. This is the first formula to bring these together into one complex to help the neurotransmitter system create optimal mood balance

†™ Please note the above statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. The above info is for informational purposes only. This does not replace the relationship between a patient and a doctor. Always communicate with your health care practitioner before taking these or any other products. It is best to work directly with your physician for any health problems.

Click Here for These Formulations


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12/08/17

Review of Study: Naturopathic Medicine for Anxiety and Depression

May 2017: Dr. Peter reviews an observational study, which corroborates two other past studies which suggests efficacy for naturopathic support with anxiety and depression.

Overall, this study sends a signal to the clinical world of psychiatry to look beyond neurotransmitters and embrace a naturopathic and holistic approach.

This study did not merely look at a single monotherapy (eg, St. John’s wort). Instead it involved a naturopathic-based paradigm, an important and welcome seminal step towards clinical acceptance of a systems-based and more functional approach to management of anxiety and depression.

to read the full review, click below:

CLICK HERE FOR ARTICLE IN NMJ


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12/03/17

Benefits of Cupping for Pain, Lung Health and What Ails You

by Peter Bongiorno ND, LAc and Pina LoGiudice ND, LAc - 12-3-2017

Many patients have seen magazine covers of celebrities like Gwyneth Paltrow or Michael Phelps with cupping marks, and have us asked if cupping might be good for his or her's particular health issues.

See Gwyneth Paltrow's cupping marks here
and Michael Phelps' marks here.

Well, cupping has a thousand-year-old history of healing, and has helped millions of people over these millennia. Chances are it can help you too.

Cupping is an ancient healing method where a glass cup is applied to the surface of the body to help move your vital energy or ‘qi’ (pronounced “chee”). Because the inside of the cup is heated, there is no air in the cup. So, when it touches the skin, it creates a vacuum that literally sucks the skin up into the cup. This will pull the fascia (muscle coverings) off tight tissue, allowing more circulation to the area. This has been shown to be very relaxing to the muscles while it helps increase nerve conduction, clearing toxins, and replenishing blood flow to the area and surrounding tissue.

The fascia which covers your muscles holds a lot of vessels and nervous tissue and is often constricted with medical conditions. Uniquely moving this tissue with cupping can have create profound healing. While other forms of physical medicine like massage and cranial sacral therapy can help relax muscles, cupping is the only form we know that can actually pull the fascia away from the muscles to create this amazing effect.

While cupping is most associated with acupuncture and Chinese medicine, cupping had actually developed independently among many different cultures. In fact, our Sicilian grandmothers used cupping on our parents and aunts/uncles as an old-world remedy. In fact, if you watch the Godfather II, there’s a scene where cups are used on Vito Corleone’s newborn Fredo to fight severe infant respiratory illness (

see Godfather II movie clip here.

Recent studies show cupping’s benefit for treating chronic pain, herpes zoster, facial paralysis, acne, plantar fasciitis, and even difficult to treat cervical spondylosis. Traditionally, it is also used for lung and respiratory conditions. One author (PB) uses it regularly to effectively stave off low back pain.

Cupping is very safe and usually pleasant and relaxing, but is sometimes will cause momentarily uncomfortable tight feeling. Usually, it will create surface bruises that go away within a week. So, remember this if you plan on wearing your bathing suit after cupping, for people may see the marks - although, this doesn’t bother Michael Phelps or Gwyneth Paltrow!

If you haven’t tried it for what ails you – give it a go. You might find it really helpful.

References:

Chi et al. The Effectiveness of Cupping Therapy on Relieving Chronic Neck and Shoulder Pain: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2016 2016: 7358918.

Cao et al. An Updated Review of the Efficacy of Cupping Therapy. PLoS One. 2012 7(2): e31793.

Please share PDF of this article HERE


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11/26/17

InnerSource to Offer Support for Chronic Pain

In partnership with TribeRx

Are you suffering from chronic pain? InnerSource Health is partnering with TribeRx (www.TribeRx.com) to offer our patients a unique experience that has the potential to greatly improve their quality of life and their overall well-being.

A key objective for us here at InnerSource has always been to foster a strong sense of community. Research shows that the more support we have while we are on our healing journey, the better we’re likely to feel. When it comes to chronic pain, this is especially true. While at times friends and family want to help, they can’t always fully understand the experience that their loved one is going through.

TribeRx is working to help providers (InnerSource Health is among the first to offer this service!) prescribe Peer Support Groups that help patients feel part of a community. Patients have the opportunity to feel better supported, better heard, and better understood. Just the same, they’re helping patients share their experience with their providers, so that we can better understand how you’re feeling between visits.

Best of all, as a key early partner helping TribeRx fulfill this important mission, we are able to offer this service to you for FREE.

If this is something you might be interested in, please let us know. You can also call the office at 631-421-1848 or email Info@TribeRx.com with “InnerSource Support Group” in the subject line. They’ll then be in touch with more details on the process as we help you find your "Tribe".

More info about TribeRx


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