Joe Keefe Delivers Pinchot Institute Distinguished Lecture
Pax CEO addresses "ecology and the challenge of sustainable investing"
PORTSMOUTH, N.H. - March 10, 2008 - Pax World Management Corp., investment adviser to Pax World Funds ("Pax"), which launched the nation's first socially responsible mutual fund in 1971, announced that President & CEO Joe Keefe was chosen as this year's Pinchot Institute for Conservation's Distinguished Lecturer. His speech on Feb. 29 in Washington, D.C., focused on the impact sustainable investing can have on preserving the world's natural environment.
In his remarks, Mr. Keefe urged that the environmental crisis facing the planet (climate change, resource depletion, rising population and consumption levels) requires a "Sustainability Revolution equal in significance to the Industrial Revolution that ushered in the modern period." The sustainability imperative, Keefe said, is ultimately about "re-engineering human economies and societies so they don't collapse but instead endure."
According to Keefe, sustainable investing must play an important role in this transition because the full integration of environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors into investment analysis and decision making is a strategy for "altering the way corporations and markets behave." Just as classic conservative investing – exemplified by Milton Friedman's famous dictum that the only duty of a corporation is to make a profit – was the investment approach associated with the Industrial Revolution, "sustainable investing is the investing arm of the Sustainable Revolution," said Keefe.
"As investors, we must find ways to insist that sustainability matters by rewarding stock prices where it is integrated and punishing stock prices where it is ignored. ... We need to attach a cost or put a price on waste and other forms of pollution that penalize their production," said Keefe.
In his remarks, Keefe summarized some of the recent studies linking sustainability criteria to financial performance and also discussed how investors can exert positive effects on corporations through shareholder activism.
The Pinchot Institute's Distinguished Lecture is held annually and features an expert on a variety of environmental issues.
"Joe Keefe and the sustainable investing industry are at the forefront of reforming capitalism to make it a tool for enhancing the sustainability of human enterprise," said Pinchot Institute President Al Sample. "Muhammad Yunus won a 2006 Nobel Prize for his efforts to create 'social businesses' to alleviate poverty, and Joe Keefe is one of the more thoughtful leaders of a similar movement to turn capitalism into a positive force for the global environment."
The mission of the Pinchot Institute is to advance conservation and sustainable natural resource management by developing innovative, practical, and broadly-supported solutions to conservation challenges and opportunities. This is accomplished through nonpartisan research, education and technical assistance on key issues influencing the future of conservation and sustainable natural resource management.
A copy of the lecture in its entirety is available on our web site here and the Pinchot Institute (www.pinchot.org)