Canada's leading research house for socially responsible investment.
Number of Employees:24
It all started with a radio show. It was the late '80s, and economics and international relations grad Michael Jantzi had yet to weave his social values into his professional persona—until a CBC broadcaster peaked his interest with a report on socially responsible investment (SRI). A then growing trend in Europe and the US, Michael immediately wanted a stake in Canada. “I had long believed that corporations usurped any stakeholders in terms of their impact. If we were going to change their behaviour, it would be through the capital markets,” explains Michael. As competitive and strong-willed then as he is now, it took a mere two years for Michael to break into SRI and to start his own investment research firm, Jantzi Research, now Sustainalytics. “A lot of people told me I was crazy. I told them to get out of my way,” says Michael.
Meeting Renewal Partners
Jantzi’s third contract was an investment manager representing an unnamed client—a client only later to be known as Carol Newell, founder of Renewal Partners. While Jantzi was still a lone voice in the wilderness, Renewal floated the idea of investing in them. Michael was initially reluctant to share control. But eventually an investment was exactly what Jantzi needed to acquire the technological and human capacity for reaching their full potential. “I firmly believe that if it wasn’t for Renewal, Jantzi Research would not be here today,” says Michael. In 2001, following further investment from Renewal and from two more Jantzi employees, all partners donated 5% of the company to the Tides Canada Foundation—modeling the philanthropy they sought to inspire in others.
Jantzi’s brand credibility has led the growth of social screening in Canada. In 2007, when RBC became the first major Canadian bank to offer investors the option of socially responsible investing (SRI), it was in partnership with Jantzi and with the creation of three co-branded funds. That same year, when Barclays iShares—the world's most extensive family of Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs)—launched the first socially responsible ETF in Canada, it was the CDN Jantzi Social Index® Fund (XEN). Michael can still remember the days when Jantzi would ask companies about their social and environmental performance, and companies would reply: “Why on earth are you asking? Nobody cares.” Jantzi has turned that mindset on its head, propelling Canadian corporations and investors toward a new way of thinking.