Zone 9

Financial Assets, Evolutionary

Here we are putting our money where our vision is, seeking out game-changing projects and companies. It’s an exciting quest, where you will encounter some of the world’s most innovative thought leaders and hopeful solutions. Evolutionary financial investments are not just about making the best of today’s global economy; they are about changing the game.

Unfortunately, due to a jumble of laws intended to protect smaller investors, today’s range of evolutionary financial investments is rather limited unless you qualify as an accredited investor (i.e., are rich enough to be allowed to buy into risky new companies). But change is afoot, and there are an increasing number of ways in which nonaccredited investors can explore their evolutionary impulses.

Key areas of Zone 9 focus

  • Impact investing (in new systems and financial structures)
  • Microfinance
  • Crowdfunding, Peer-to-peer lending


US SIF: The Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment

US SIF: The Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment is the trade association for the socially responsible investment industry. Its website includes primers on community investing, divestment, and SRI in general, as well as a steady stream of topical reports. Visit website.

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ESG Ratings for US Mutual Funds

Our company, Natural Investments, has been generating comprehensive ratings of SRI mutual funds since 1992 and has become the leading tool for investors to get a snapshot of SRI mutual funds’ environmental, social, and governance performance. Similar to the 5-star system used by Morningstar to rate financial performance, our “Heart Rating” (also known as the NI Social Rating) used 1-5 hearts to indicate where each mutual fund stands relative to its peers in its commitment to screening, shareholder advocacy, and community investing. See the current Heart Ratings.

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Invest With Values: comprehensive SRI directory

The Invest With Values website includes a wide-ranging, easy-to-use directory with investment opportunities in the following areas: local banking, community investing, sustainable and responsible investing, and impact investing.

The website also contains numerous tools to help you on a path toward investing with your values. Visit website.

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The State Of 3-D Printing in 2015

Technology think-tank International Data Corporation (IDC) predicts that by the year 2020, more than 10% of all consumer products will be available through produce on demand via 3-D printing – in home or through companies offering such services. This article provides an overview of the current state and possibilities of 3-D printing, with an emphasis on the potential market growth of companies in this sector. Read article.

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The Impact of Shareholder Activism

This late-2014 report by the Croatan Institute looks into the impact of investor engagement on environmental, social, and corporate governance practices of publicly traded companies. These finding have been integrated as part of a project to develop a standard method for documenting the impact of such activities. For the 2015 proxy season, ten institutional investors have committed to using the alpha version of the framework. See report.

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