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Sustainable Investing – When Green is Good All Around

Posted by Administrator on 9/14/2013

Now that you’ve made a commitment to protecting our earth by shopping responsibly, following the Green R’s, and even finding time to volunteer for earth friendly, conscious causes, have you checked your personal investment portfolio to ensure you’re not funding companies that work against your values? What are the ways in which you can ensure that your investments support instead of cause harm to the planet? Well, following the guidelines of Socially Responsible Investing (SRI) can give you strategies to finance businesses dedicated to sustainability, supporting the planet, and sound business practices.


Gone are the days when people believed that profit and sound social/environmental values were mutually exclusive. SRI has been around since the 1700s, when the Quakers refused to engage in the buying or selling of humans. In fact, some of the best-known early applications of socially responsible investing were religiously motivated.


The modern era of socially responsible investing evolved during the political climate of the 1960s when socially concerned investors increasingly sought to address equality for women, civil rights, and labor issues. Since the late 1990s, SRI has become increasingly defined as a means to promote environmentally sustainable development, with many investors considering effects of global climate change a significant business and investment risk. In the USA, there are now around 200 SRI mutual funds available to investors. Here, and in much of Europe, SRI has grown at a far higher rate than conventional funds.


 Some tips to ensure that your investments are truly green:-


Examine your portfolio – If you make a careful examination of some of your mutual fund holdings you may find that they invest in industries which go against your values. The first step in the process of being a conscious investor is to understand where your funds are being channeled.


Check with your financial advisor – He/she may well offer a range of socially responsible investments since most major firms provide these options. Along with environmental or sustainability concerns they may also consider human rights issues, product safety, working conditions, child labor, etc. Essentially you’re looking for those firms which make a profit while also behaving in a manner which takes into account sound environmental, social and governance practices (ESG).


Consider green investment companies – While major financial firms offer a range of SRI options, there are many well-established companies that specialize exclusively in SRI funds. Check out sites such as and for more information. Some of the more well-known SRI investment firms include Trillium Asset Management, Clean Yield Group, Calvert, Domini, Boston Common Asset Management, etc.


Research your funds – As with any investment you will need to ensure you find out exactly what costs you may incur, etc., versus the likely profit. Depending on your findings and your own financial goals, you may decide to invest in small or large companies, domestic or international. There are three leading indices used to identify 'sustainable' investments, namely Dow Jones Sustainability Indexes, FTSE4Good, and Innovest Strategic Value Advisors.


Invest with meaning – One of the true pluses of values-based investing is that you can often interact with those who benefit from your investment and see the direct impact of the results. Check out sites like Kickstarter, Kiva and Acumen Fund which provide this unique opportunity. You can help the start-up of an urban farm in Atlanta or finance the operations of a small coffee co-operative in Guatemala, supporting small-scale investing which adds tremendous value above and beyond the bottom-line.


Speak up – As a corporate stockholder you have more leverage than the average consumer and can use this position to push for change if you believe the corporation’s operations/behavior is moving in a direction which is not in sync with the values it professes. The onset of “shareholder activism” has seen stockholders draft petitions, pressure management, participate in proxy votes and engage in a range of activities designed to change company policies.


SRI can help us to manage our investments so that we may share our values, change the world and ensure a sound return!

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