Seek Perfection Elsewhere

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This essay was adapted from our newsletter. Click here if you’d like to subscribe to that.

In conversation with many of you over the past few weeks, I’ve found myself repeating the phrase “it’s unrealistic to commit to ethical perfection.”

Given that I manage an “ethical growth” strategy and an “ethics-first” investment firm, this statement bears some explanation.

We invest in public markets, which typically reflect the latent desires of the wealthiest folks on the planet.

Overseeing our investments in such circumstances requires a commitment to creative thinking, deep research, and continuous improvement.

Or, to put it another way… it requires one heck of a bullshit detector.

Here are a few quick examples of things we find regularly while examining companies that have been lauded as harbingers of a happier future:

  • Boardrooms full of billionaire buddies in their “third wife” era,
  • Let’s just say “Epstein ties,” and saddest of all:
  • Teams with earnest commitment to driving positive impact, but extremely slim chances of doing so.

It drives me crazy to see companies like this bundled together, branded as something like the “transformative climate innovation fund,” and marketed to people like you.

This happens because once Wall Street realized that millions of kind people actually cared about participating in the construction of a better future for the planet, the marketing machine took over.

At that point, it became inevitable that dreck, dross, and douchebags would pervade the sustainable investing landscape in the way they do today.

So what can we do about it?

I know for sure that step one is simple: refuse to make stupid promises.

But as far as I can tell, step two never ends.

That’s the part where we wade through all of the grey areas, moral ambiguities, and intentional misdirections that characterize modern capitalism while keeping our moral compass intact.

What I hope to do in the coming weeks is start doing step three alongside it, which is where we begin giving more regular, direct, and detailed downloads on the things we’ve learned while working through our process each lunar cycle.

I hope you’ll join us for our first full moon webinar this coming August 1st at 1pm. If you click here to register, you can even join the conversation directly and ask whatever questions are on your mind.

It would be nice if we could deliver ethical perfection. But in its absence, I hope that more regular doses of our honest perspectives will suffice.

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  • Sloane Ortel

    Sloane founded Invest Vegan in 2021 to make high quality ethical investment portfolios accessible to anyone, no matter how much money they have available to invest. Before establishing her own firm, she spent close to a decade as a staff member at CFA Institute, a global nonprofit dedicated to promoting ethics, market integrity, and the highest standards of professionalism in the investment industry.

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Invest Vegan LLC is a Utah registered investment adviser that provides managed account services to individuals, institutions, and others interested in aligning their investment activities with vegan ethical principles.