Towards Aware and No-Harm Investing – with Marco Vangelisti, Essential Knowledge for Transition (EK4T)

Episode 54

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Hosted by
Ron Kamen

Ron Kamen has decades of expertise & leadership in catalyzing exponential change in sustainable energy adoption with governments, non-profits, and businesses.

Quantum Quote: “The dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate to the stormy present. The occasion is piled high with difficulty, and we must rise with the occasion. As our case is new, so we must think anew, and act anew. We must disenthrall ourselves, and then we should save our country.” – Abraham Lincoln

Quantum Quote: “Hope is the belief in the plausibility of the possible as opposed to the necessity of the probable.” – Maimonides

Most of us want to “do the right thing”. But traditionally, we don’t know what’s in our investment portfolios. While our investments affect the world we live in, most of us are not aware of where our investments go,  and if those investments support what we believe in.

And, sometimes, what we thought was having a positive impact, is actually creating the opposite effect.

Do you want to understand what your money is doing, while making sure that the return you get is not destructive to you, other people, and the world?

Are you wondering if your investments are aligned with your moral and environmental compass?

Listen and dive into the world of Aware and No-Harm Investing as Marco shares his story on how to have a positive impact by understanding how investment systems work.

Marco Vangelisti, CFA, is a 100% Aware and No-Harm investor with a longstanding commitment to impact and regenerative investing. He is the founder of Essential Knowledge for Transition (EK4T) – a company that aims to democratize understanding of the large systems in society so that we can redesign them to be in balance with nature.


Marco is also a founding members of Slow Money and was on the leadership team of the Slow Money Northern California Network since its inception. He was a Fulbright scholar in Mathematics and Economics at the University of California, and is a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA), and taught portfolio management, asset allocation, and performance and risk analysis at the San Francisco CFA Institute.

He first spent 20 years in conventional finance, working for a company that builds quantitative models for equity and fixed income markets around the world. However, when he learned that what he was doing was not aligned with his values, he started a movement to change investment systems.

Now he’s teaching people how to move towards Aware and No-Harm investing.

Toward Aware – No Harm Investing – CourseUse the discount code AEK20 to get 20% off: https://ek4t.com/tanhi21Q2/

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SuperNova #1. “We need the right knowledge to change the systems that are problematic and make the transition necessary for us and ecosystems to prosper”

SuperNova #2. “What is wrong with traditional investing is that we don’t even know what we own.  The key is to understand what your money is doing and making sure that the return you get is not destructive of nature, communities, or other groups.”

SuperNova #3. “If you look at the past and you say, ‘Okay, look at how the financial markets have done in the last 20 years – they’ve done really well. Now, if you form your expectations based on that history, though, I think you will be greatly disappointed. You are setting yourself up for a major disappointment if you think that the stock market will go up 10, 15 percent every year from now on.”

SuperNova #4. “A “Regenerative Investment” is for people who feel particularly motivated to address a particular issue, and that the best way to address that is by supporting a business that is raising capital. Where they’re not that concerned whether the money comes back, because they’re really concerned about what the business could solve, if it succeeded.”

Aha! Moment: “My aha! moment was understanding the extent to which financial returns can be extractive… To realize how our investments are shaping the world we live in.” 

Worst Career Moment: “My worst career moment came while I was trying to serve our clients, including environmental foundations to whom I had donated. I realized that the portfolio we were managing was investing in things that destroyed the forests in the Borneo and the habitat of the orangutan.”

Best Advice He’s Ever Received: “Don’t believe in everything you think. Our minds, sometimes, can play tricks, and to question one’s own belief system and conclusions can be very helpful. So I have a very skeptical approach to what my mind is thinking, making sure that it is not just playing tricks on me.” 

Personals Habits that Contribute to Success: “As part of my meditative practice, I go to the garden and gather my greens, wash them, and prepare my salad in the morning.” 

Internet Resource: Dr. John Campbell in YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/c/Campbellteaching/videos 

Book Recommendation: Sapiens: A Brief History of Human Kind by Harari Yuval Noah

Magic Wand: “I would give the vaccine to everybody in the world right now and then the pandemic will be over in three weeks.” 

WTF or F: “I used to spend the summer in the mountains. I remember we were camping somewhere and we were hit by this amazing lightning storm. When you’re very close to a bolt of lightning, the sound and the light come at the same time, and they are absolutely explosive. We were going through that for the whole night. I thought we were gonna get fried, but we survived somehow (although we got very wet).” 

One Unique Tip Tool or Tactic that People Need to Know but Don’t: “I think what a lot of people don’t know is how much their investments are affecting their life, not understanding that our investments really shape the world we live in. So, if we don’t like what we see, then look at your investments and make sure that you’re not participating in the problems you would like to see solved. Know what your money is doing and ensure that it causes no harm to you and the world we live in..”

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Most Energized About Today: “It’s a beautiful day out there, and as soon as we’re done, I’m gonna go to my garden and spend some time there.” – Marco Vangelisti

Parting Advice: “If you are curious about learning more – email me at info@ek4t.com or check out my website and consider taking my course.”

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Episode 54