Purchasing Power

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by looking at the deep struggles the world faces. Rather than giving in to despair or apathy, we can find ways to use something as commonplace as our shopping habits to invest in making a positive change. Together, we can change the world—one pint of ice cream at a time.

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by looking at the deep struggles the world faces. Rather than giving in to despair or apathy, we can find ways to use something as commonplace as our shopping habits to invest in making a positive change. Together, we can change the world—one pint of ice cream at a time.

Purchasing Power with Purpose

Changing the world—one pint of ice cream at a time.


@BillionBackRecords

Each year in the United States, individuals and corporations give about $400 billion to charitable causes, ranging from arts organizations to social services and religious organizations. For the ordinary person, that number seems staggeringly large. But, according to CBS News, that represents only a small fraction—2%—of the Gross Domestic Product of the nation.

$400,000,000,000 yearly

Charitable giving has gained increased attention in the last decade, with advances in communication technology, yet the amount given has stayed relatively stagnant giving around 2% of their income to charity—a strange parallel to the economy as a whole.

So how do we have a greater impact? How do we do more with our money, and make a bigger difference?

Americans give roughly 2% of the nation’s GDP to charity each year. The nation as a whole produces over $19 trillion in one calendar year according to the World Bank. What if there was a way to harness even just a fraction more of that incredible amount of production to combat the deepest issues our society faces?

Many people would love to give more to charity, but don’t have the means to donate cash out of their pocket. So how do we give more without having to give more? The answer—using our spending habits to make a difference.

Ben&Jerry Icecream

If the average person spends $5,400 on impulse buys each year, that is an additional $5,400 that we can leverage to impact the world around us. By spending money at companies which give back to the community, you are able to give back. One example is Warby Parker, an eyeglass store, who donates a pair of glasses to someone in need for every pair sold. In the enterprise business world, Salesforce is committed to its 1-1-1 model, donating 1% of profits, 1% of employee time, and 1% of its product to charity. Or, if you happen to be walking down the freezer aisle in your grocery store, consider buying Ben&Jerry’s ice cream. The company awards more than $1.8 million a year to fund community action and change. Eating more ice cream is the kind of social investment most of us can get behind.

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed when we look at the deep struggles the world faces. What can one person really do in the face of such large-scale issues? Rather than giving in to despair or apathy, we can find ways to use something as commonplace as our shopping trip to invest in making a change.

Together, we can change the world—one pint of ice cream at a time.


| Written by Benjamin Hoekstra

| Visuals by Billion Back Records, The World Bank, Charities Aid Foundation


Rise of Ethical Investing

Finance was once criticized as soulless. Ethical investing startups are changing that by prioritizing humanitarian companies and the democratizing of the markets. Investors are more conscience about the issues affecting humanity. Picking companies and funds which take into account environmental and social responsibilities, and hundreds of other human factors are what the people want.

Finance was once criticized as soulless. Ethical investing startups are changing that by prioritizing humanitarian companies and the democratizing of the markets. Investors are more conscious of the issues affecting humanity. Picking companies and funds which take into account environmental and social responsibilities, and hundreds of other human factors are what the people want.

The Rise of Ethical Investing

Finance was once criticized as soulless but ethical investing startups are changing that by prioritizing humanitarian companies and democratizing of the markets.

Morry Brown had what so many young finance graduates wanted: he was an associate at Goldman-Sachs. His career was set. A steady ramp of promotions leading to Rolexes and BMWs was his for the taking. But Morry wasn’t satisfied. What good was he doing for the world as a spreadsheet monkey? And so he quit, to found a company that merged investment with ethics: EarnWell.

EarnWell’s mission was remarkably simple: to create a portfolio of the 100 most ethical S&P 500 for the socially active casual investor. They took into account carbon footprint, gender equity, association with weapons production, environmental sustainability, and hundreds of other factors. Over 90% of the ‘EarnWell 100’ earned a perfect score on the Human Rights Campaign’s corporate responsibility, and the carbon footprint of the portfolio is 80% lower than the S&P index funds.

Other opportunities for socially responsible investing have begun to crop up everywhere. Recently, industry heavyweight Pacific Life launched Swell investing, with portfolios in renewable energy companies, researched-focused biotechnology firms working towards disease eradication, and zero-waste business.

This comes at a time when research has shown corporate leadership that responsibility isn’t just good PR — but profitable. If more companies put ethics before short-term gains, social activists — and investors — might just see the change they want.

Read more about how doing the right thing is just as profitable from Forbes.

Apps and Platforms


Swell Investing

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Robinhood

Robinhood believes that the financial system should work for the rest of us, not just the wealthy. Robinhood lets you invest in the stock market for free, directly from your phone or desktop.


| Written by Dante Vaisbort

| Visuals by Swell, Robinhood, MoneySense.ca