AMISA - Leadership Through Investing
By Dereck Rhoads and Kerry Jacobson
Nearly every school in AMISA has a strong message embedded in their mission or clearly stated in their core values that commits the school to socially responsible change. We all educate with a better future in mind, a sustainable vision for our students, their children and all of our grandchildren.
Just take a look at these messages from our websites:
“Our mission is to empower our students to pursue their passion for learning, lead lives of integrity and create socially responsible solutions” – Colegio Roosevelt Mission
“Individuals empowered to reach their potential and positively impact the world” – Graded School Vision
“Engagement: Approaching life and work with complete attention, involvement, curiosity, and the responsibility to make a positive difference in the world” – Nido de Aguilas, Our Values
Proclamations of responsibility
These commitments become even more specific with proclamations of responsibility from practically every one of the AMISA schools regarding:
Environment (“Honor our environment, reduce our footprint and act sustainably” – Lincoln School , Buenos Aires Belief Statement or “Survival of humanity depends on the health of the environment” – Colegio Roosevelt Core Value)
Social Justice (read the Qualities of Social Commitment from Colegio Bolivar or the Community Principles from Atlanta International School)
Government (“Educating the mind, strengthening the body, and developing character for Leadership and Service in the world of today for a better tomorrow” – Colegio Nueva Granada Vision Statement
How do we fulfill these visions? One way is through our investment policies.
Over the past several years, the AMISA Board of Trustees and Dr. Rhoads have engaged in a strategic analysis of the financial position our association. We have moved from a single approach with full exposure to the stock market to a tiered approach, allocating our reserves and strategically making investments.
Most recently, the AMISA Finance Committee has worked with our Financial Advisors at the Global Advisors Group to transition our investments into a sustainable investing approach. Specifically, we have changed our investment portfolio to an approach being commonly referred to as “ESG”. This acronym stands for Environmental Sustainability, Social Issues, and Governance Issues. Currently, an ESG investment approach has zero exposure to investments in the following areas: Fossil Fuels, Tobacco, Alcohol, Gambling, Weapons and Civilian Firearms. In the future, there may be proactive investing that can support many additional types of sustainable operations.
Most interestingly, ESG investments are not only “doing good”, they are “doing well” with ESG-based investment returns (using the MSCI KLD 400) outperforming the S&P 500 Index.
ESG is a relatively new investment approach. More evidence is always needed regarding the financial and non-financial benefits of this approach. However, we are proud of this direction for our investments as an Association. We will assist our schools by providing this significant step toward living our core values and achieving our missions and visions.
A few more opportunities to learn about ESG investing:
Recent interview with Al Gore. Gore puts ESG investing into the larger context of environmental sustainability (minutes 13:09 until 15:57 contain references to ESG). Listen HERE.