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Green on green 

Believe it or not, making money isn’t always just about money, at least it isn’t for Blue Marble Investments LLC. This SLO investment firm, tucked away from the hubbub of the rest of world, is dedicated to making socially responsible investments that not only bring high returns but also give your conscience a boost. 

“The issues we get into are more the universal issues which are really the environment and human rights,” said Arturo Tabuenca, owner of Blue Marble. “Everyone can pretty much agree that clean water and clean air and having children not work 12 to 15 hours a day is a good idea, those are really the issues that mainstream socially responsible investing is advocating.”

What exactly is socially responsible investing? Well, it’s like putting your money where your mouth is and voting with your dollars all at once. While the concept originated in the 1700s, it wasn’t until recently that it gained significant momentum, with socially screened funds seeing their total net assets more than double from 1997 to 2007.

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Through socially responsible investing, investors engage in finding companies that agree with their moral and social philosophies, weeding out the ones that don’t or influencing the practices of a company through shareholder advocacy. For example, most socially responsible investors try to avoid companies that use sweatshops or produce excessive pollution, others divest in businesses involved in gambling, alcohol, or weapons.

Blue Marble, in particular, keeps an eye out for companies that are working in renewable energy and sustainability projects, hence the earth-inspired company name. In fact, Blue Marble just distributed what they consider their “baby,” the vigilantly managed and completely green-based portfolio, EarthFolio.

“It’s the first green portfolio to be distributed mainstream, so we have 4,000 advisers that have access to EarthFolio,” Tabuenca said. “It’s the first product of its kind that’s getting distributed on a huge level.”

Although the firm is located in San Luis Obispo, only three to four—including the firm’s first customer—of their nearly 200 clients hail from the area. The other 196 clients are sprawled across the nation and communicate with the firm via the Internet.

While Blue Marble’s physical location is San Luis Obispo, owner Arturo Tabuenca likes to make it clear that the business’s focus is not necessarily local in-person service but more about giving investors worldwide more opportunities to invest in a socially responsible way.

“It’s an awareness issue. People are starting to dig deeper and deeper and saying ‘hey, this is all part of how something is not just developed but put out to market and how it goes back,’ it’s more of a closed loop mentality.”

Find out more at or call 595-1820.


Intern Angela Watkins compiled this week’s Strokes and Plugs. Send your business news to


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