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14 inches

14 inches

| March 27, 2024

14 inches. Pretty short distance in most endeavors, huh? Just getting out of bed in the morning and tripping over my dog, I suspect I travel 14 inches in a heartbeat.

14 inches is also the average distance between the heart and the brain. I was reflecting on this last week at the #BCorp #ChampionsRetreat2024. During a session on ESG and Impact investing, I asked a question of one of the panelists, "How do you overcome resistance to ESG/ impact 401k investing within the sustainability community". His response was two-fold. "Drown them in data" and "The longest journey is the one between the heart and the brain".

This is an interesting view and I ruminated more on the flight home. There a variety of reasons a 401k may not offer ESG investment choices.

  1. The 401k platform has no ESG options to choose from.

  2. The plan never considered them or the 401k advisor has not brought it up.

  3. There is no demand from the employees.

Those reasons will likely form another article here but for now, let's focus on the sustainable company that gets the risks of climate change and the need to take action. Why is there resistance?

Who knows the mysteries of the human mind (aside from The Shadow!) but there certainly is plenty of data worth investigating.

But data alone is not enough. And data alone may not be what your audience needs. It may be a case of waiting for one of their peers to take the first step.

For some companies, this is just not a priority even though the company is clearly onboard with trying to find solutions. Yep, we are all stretched thin and probably more so with work-from-home.

And yes, reporting on greenhouse gas reductions in the 401k probably is not as much of a headline generator as a $10 million dollar gift of tax cut money to environmental groups. After 34 years in the industry, I can say it. 401k plans are not sexy.

The ESG 401k conversation requires patient listening, really understanding the appetite for change/ commitment to the climate change movement, and...expecting and accepting non-closure. The latter is not easy for a Type A like me. Non-closure means a longer time to decide, time which we may not have.

Still, we must keep pushing, trying to journey 14 inches.

Want to go deeper? Let's chat.