genus-fossil-free-logo-v3

Accelerating the divest-invest movement

The divestment movement continues to accelerate. Organizations, universities and churches are experiencing increasing pressure from stakeholders to divest, with the first Canadian university, Laval, committing to divest in 2017.

In an economy heavily concentrated in oil and gas, many Canadians want to do something about climate change. Genus Capital, a pioneering investment management firm, called on Yulu to promote Canada’s first suite of fossil-free mutual funds, and to educate investors on how to divest their money away from greenhouse gas polluters and into investments that align with their personal values.

THE CHALLENGE

Yulu has worked with Genus Capital since 2016 to raise public awareness of Genus Fossil Free. This suite of fossil-free mutual funds has become a game-changing product in the impact investing space because for the first time, it allowed people to invest in a 100 per cent fossil free fund. Yulu wanted to ensure the Genus Fossil Free brand would stand on its own merit and meaningfully coexist with the Genus Capital brand. To develop brand positioning that was built to last, we knew we’d need to take a step back from the whiteboard and hear from the people on the frontline who spoke to investors every day.

THE STRATEGY

Our process began with stakeholder interviews, talking to the portfolio managers and Genus’ leadership team to learn what was resonating with clients. Next, we benchmarked Genus against its peers. Rather than only looking at direct competitors, we analyzed one of the country’s most successful robo-advisors and one of North America’s largest investment firms, both of which had a carbon-conscious offering.

From there, we developed a strategic communications plan that has been our guiding force since we began working together in 2016. One of the main pillars of our strategy was to build the reputation of Wayne Wachell, the CEO of Genus Capital, as the “Father of Fossil Free,” and raise awareness of the Genus’ truly impactful portfolio offering across all external communications channels, including marketing, media relations and social media.

Our strategy also encompassed the launch of Genus’ ‘Climate Action Superheroes,’ an online storytelling series to champion high-impact leaders working at the intersection of finance and climate action, to move the needle on climate change.

RESULTS & IMPACT

As climate change and the divestment movement continues to dominate headlines, journalists have a strong appetite for learning how fossil free and impact investing can be used to align personal wealth with values.

In our time working with the Genus team, Yulu had garnered more than 150 pieces of media coverage, with tangible increases in quality each quarter as we continually develop existing and new media relationships. Wayne has appeared on Bloomberg TV, Business News Network, CBC’s ‘On the Money,’ and Sirius XM’s ‘Money Make Simple’ to talk about fossil free investing.

Wayne is now a sought after expert as the “Father of Fossil Free,” and has featured in The Guardian, Vice Motherboard, Financial Post, Canadian Press, Star Vancouver, Winnipeg Free Press and Yahoo! Finance. We also secured a regular investing column in the Globe and Mail for Genus’ co-founder, Leslie Cliffe, and a regular column in the Huffington Post for Wayne.

In support of growing Wayne’s thought leadership, we helped the team elevate its research by packaging insights into a new ‘Fossil Fuel Divestment Report,’ which we’ve launched annually to prove that fossil free investing has the same, if not better, returns that traditional investing. This report has featured heavily in the media, and armed investors with compelling quantitative evidence for going fossil free.

In 2017, we were proud to support Genus in being certified as a B Corporation. With our guidance, Genus became Canada’s first wealth management firm to join the B Corp community, with a rating of 87 out of 200 (compared with an industry median of 50 out of 200). Yulu provided extensive consultancy on the B Corp certification process from end to end.