One month from today, the Sundown concert series will be getting under way at the Natural Capital Center. As we gear up for the event, we talked with Portfolio 21's founder, Carsten Henningsen, about the company, living and working in Portland, and what employees do during the well-deserved summer.
Portfolio 21 is a boutique investment management firm and known as a leader in environmental investing. By combining environmental, social, and governance analysis with fundamental investment research, the firm seeks to identify companies it believes are capable of providing competitive returns for investors, while innovating within emerging environmental limits, mitigating their environmental impact, and operating in a manner respectful of society. The firm is based in Portland and is independent and employee owned.
What do you like about being in the Natural Capital Center, and why did you decide to become involved in Sundown?
Portfolio 21 has been a friend of Ecotrust since 1991 when Ecotrust was started by Spencer Beebe. When Spencer called us about moving into the Natural Capital Center, we were the first to sign up and we have been happily coexisting with all of the wonderful people here since 2001. We love it here because Ecotrust created much more than the first LEED certified historical renovation; Spencer and his team built a sustainability networking hub that has become Portland’s environmental center of the universe. Sundown is a celebration of all these things and a way to invite the neighborhood into our outdoor living room with fabulous music, food, and drink.
How are investors changing their perspective and investing around social and environmental outcomes?
Today, more and more investors are aligning their values with their money, from the supermarket to the stock market. Every day we hear from people who do not want to be investors in big oil companies or really anything that is negative; rather they want to be part of the solutions for creating a healthy and sustainable world. There are choices and investors are learning that their money can have a voice and that they can essentially vote with their dollars to create change.
How has Portland been a good place to grow your firm?
Portland is an amazing place to live and work, especially if your business is helping people invest with environmental and social impact. The Natural Capital Center has been instrumental in the green branding of Portland’s image around the country and the world. We can’t imagine being anywhere else but the center of this sustainable universe. We constantly meet people who have just moved here because they are pursuing a career that reflects their passion for sustainability and Portland is recognized as the green place to be.
It’s summer. How are firm employees out enjoying the sunny months?
We all know that summer in Portland is the best and we deserve it after all of that nourishing rain. Portfolio 21’s employees love the Oregon outdoors and take full advantage of white-water rafting on the John Day River, early-morning rowing on the Willamette, running in Forest Park, wild-flower hiking on Mt. Hood, and of course the spectacular Oregon Coast.