Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are joining a $1.3 billion ethical investing fund in New York as impact partners, it was announced on Tuesday.
The couple hope their incursion into the booming world of sustainable investing will raise awareness about issues such as racial injustice, climate change and income inequality, said Ethic co-founder Jay Lipman.
With environmental, social and government investing now part of mainstream finance, regulators have started paying more attention to how well fund managers’ claims of sustainability match their actions.
And with about $35 trillion parked in ESG assets, the Global Sustainable Investment Alliance reports, there is growing concern that the label is often misused — a practice known as greenwashing.
“Sustainable investing is certainly in vogue right now but likely for the wrong reasons,” said Lisa Sachs, who heads Columbia University’s Centre on Sustainable Investment.
“We shouldn’t confuse holding a value-aligned portfolio and mitigating exposure to risk with addressing the major and urgent underlying issues.”
Ethic was started in 2015 and says it creates bespoke investments for its customers based on the social and environmental issues they care about the most.
Mr Lipman said investors can address society’s biggest challenges through collectively divesting from polluters and companies that perpetuate racial discrimination, such as the private prison system.
Since stepping away from their UK royal duties, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have signed deals with companies including Spotify and Netflix.
In July, they signed a four-book deal with Penguin Random House which will include the publication of Prince Harry's memoir, scheduled to be released next year.