Portland State University Finance Professor Brian Bolton is a storyteller. In his micro and macroeconomics classes, he weaves together characters such as the players involved in the housing market crash, and plots like how the investments that firms make can affect future costs. I was not the least surprised to hear that his book on sustainable financial investments was being published.
When Brian and I sat down to discuss this new book over lattes, he explained that his journey into published authorship was a means to solving his own problem.
As a storyteller, Brian was frustrated by the limited scope and dryness of available texts regarding macroeconomics. His book, titled Sustainable Financial Investments – Maximizing Corporate Profits and Long-Term Economic Value Creation was his answer to the lack of texts that told the story of sustainability within economics.
He explained to me, “Just to be clear, I’m not preaching sustainability, I’m preaching finance.” At its core, the book is meant to define the characteristics of sustainable financial investments, but has a special emphasis on the return in sustainability investments.
Refreshingly, his message does not advocate sustainability for the sake of “doing the right thing.” Brian tells his story of sustainability by framing it in economic sensibility. “In a world with an increasing population, declining and limited natural resources, and changing generational preferences, investing in human, social and environment-related projects can create value in ways that were not possible just a few years ago. Many firms are creating value through sustainability—because the economics make sense.”
Brian told me that while the main ideas of the book were easy for him to pin down, he spent great effort in writing for his audience. I knew that this meant that he used his storytelling voice to give these economic concepts life.
Because this book brings together new insights on the economic value of sustainability, Brian envisions its use for more than just a text in a finance class. Sustainability managers can learn a language that connects with their company’s finance team, and conversely, finance managers can learn how to ensure that sustainability measures are financially wise, instead of placations for the sustainability team.
I am personally excited for the new class of Portland State MBAs that will work through this text in class. No matter what career MBAs enter, they are sure to make decisions on investments. These investments might be large, like whether to invest in a more sustainable supply chain, or small personal decisions on whether to invest time in tackling emails versus drinking a beer. Brian Bolton has impressed upon me the need to look through an economic lens when making investment decisions. Through Sustainable Financial Investments, I look forward to others having access to Brian’s down-to-earth voice and the story of investment valuation.
For more information about Portland State School of Business faculty, click here.
To buy Sustainable Financial Investments – Maximizing Corporate Profits and Long-Term Economic Value Creation,click here.
Rebecca Freedman is a second year MBA student at Portland State. She is pivoting from a paralegal background into a career in digital marketing and communications. You can connect with Rebecca on LinkedIn and prospective students may also contact her through the Graduate Business Programs Ambassador Portal.