Michael Armstrong
RBC Wealth Management–U.S.

Without a doubt, responsible investing these days is all the rage—in financial services and in business more broadly.

From Ford and General Motors' investments in electric vehicle production to Bed Bath & Beyond's appointment of a chief diversity officer, companies in every sector are making significant environmental, social and governance (ESG) commitments. In fact, 60 percent of S&P 500 companies talked about ESG during recent earnings calls, according to a report from RBC Capital Markets.

At RBC Wealth Management we've been talking about ESG a lot more, too. Investors' desire to use their wealth to influence positive change in the world is growing and responsible investing can be an effective way for them to achieve that goal. Indeed, recent figures show one in every three dollars in the U.S. are managed in responsibly invested assets and I'm sure that ratio will continue to increase.

To help meet this demand, our firm has launched several new responsible investing products–on our platform as well as an ESG education and awareness campaign for our advisors and our clients. Our goal, simply stated, is to be a leader in responsible investing advice.

While our entry as a firm into the ESG investing space is fairly new, I'm proud to say our broader interest and commitment to the principles behind responsible investing are not. Our parent company, RBC, and our wealth management division in the U.S. have a long history of environmental and community support and good governance practices.

In the late 1970s, RBC Wealth Management-U.S., which is headquartered in Minneapolis, stepped up to be one of 23 founding members of the Minnesota Keystone program, through which we donate at least two percent of our pre-tax earnings to charitable organizations. In 1991, RBC launched the first corporate environmental policy and followed that up in 2007 with the RBC Blue Water Project, a 10-year global commitment of $50 million to help protect the world's most precious natural resource: freshwater. Most recently, in 2019, RBC unveiled an enterprise climate strategy called the RBC Climate Blueprint, aimed at accelerating clean economic growth through our strengths in finance, investment, risk management, innovation, economic research, and community investments.

We've long been a leader on the diversity front, too, which is why RBC is a standard holding in the Pax Ellevate Management's Impax Global Women's Leadership Index that selects holdings based, in large part, on gender diverse leadership. Today, 42 percent of RBC's Board of Directors are women and 17 percent identify as BIPOC. This high percentage of women in leadership has also helped RBC earn a spot as a member of both the Refinitiv26 Diversity and Inclusion Index and the Bloomberg Gender-Equality Index. RBC has also been recognized for Best Overall Governance by Corporate Secretary Magazine and named to the Top 100 Global Companies for Gender Equality list by Equileap, the leading independent data provider on gender equality.

Despite this rich and real history of solid ESG practices and principles, we know there's more to do. That's why I'm particularly proud to say we've built on those commitments.

In 2021, RBC pledged to join the global, industry-led Net-Zero Banking Alliance (NZBA). Among NZBA's many goals is an effort to align lending portfolios around the world with net-zero emissions targets by 2050. RBC also committed to reducing emissions by 70 percent and sourcing 100 percent of our electricity from renewable and non-emitting sources by 2025. We know climate change is one of the most pressing issues of our age and I'm proud that RBC, as one of the largest financial services companies in the world, is playing an active role in accelerating the transition to a net-zero society.

I'm also proud that RBC Wealth Management has pledged to be a more active leader on social justice issues, lending our name and support to overcoming systemic racism and discrimination in the communities where we do business. We're currently working with various community organizations and nonprofits to figure out just how we do that. And we hope the investments we make serve to inspire others.

This article was originally published on

RBC Wealth Management, a division of RBC Capital Markets, LLC, Member NYSE/FINRA/SIPC.

Michael Armstrong

RBC Wealth Management–U.S.

Investment and insurance products offered through RBC Wealth Management are not insured by the FDIC or any other federal government agency, are not deposits or other obligations of, or guaranteed by, a bank or any bank affiliate, and are subject to investment risks, including possible loss of the principal amount invested.