Socially & Morally Responsible Investing

Value growth photoFar too often investors are lead to believe they must choose between positive investment returns, or supporting that align with their social and moral beliefs. Unfortunately in the past there was a scarcity of options, and often true that social or morally focused investments did not compete with other investments in the same category. Whether you wanted to support clean energy, or not support tobacco or alcohol companies, or specific religious beliefs you wanted to support, there simply was not many options to choose from. However, I am happy to say that this is no longer the case. There are a growing number of quality performing investments in which investors can support their social and moral beliefs.

Outside of investing in specific companies, there are a growing number of mutual funds and ETFs that have specialty focuses that align with social and moral beliefs. 

Religious Focus: There are several quality mutual funds that use the Catholic Advisory Board screening process in selecting and not selecting companies to invest in. Specifically the fund focuses on supporting family values and other items that align with Catholic ideologies.

Renewable Energy: The amount of quality renewable energy investment options is growing rapidly. As more renewable energy companies enter the market and become successful, this can translate well for the funds that specialize in that sector. The growing sentiment for clean energy and moving away from fossil fuels has lead the investment to world respond with a growing number of ETFs and mutual funds with solar, wind, and a collection of renewable energy focuses.

Good Business Practices: What if you just want to support a company that treats its employees and customers well? There are a few mutual funds that invest only in companies with high quality work place practices and high customer satisfaction. This can also extend to renewable energy investments and other business that support humanitarian efforts.

Do Good for the World: There are a great number of healthcare and biotech investments in the world and some specifically focus on companies that “do good for the world.” For example, a drug manufacturer that donates or sells at steep discounts its drugs to impoverished countries. Or a shoe company that donates a pair every time a pair is purchased. While it’s more difficult to be prosperous with these business practices, that hasn’t impeded some of these investment funds from leading their investment categories.

We are entering a great time in which we do not have to sacrifice our strongly held beliefs in order to have positive investments returns. You can now find many investments that specialize in specific social, moral and political that you can feel good supporting, and not pay for it.

Speak with your financial advisor to learn more about specific investments, and see which investment options are most appropriate for you.

If you are interested in reading about more socially and morally conscious investments, the Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investments has a list of funds that they approve of. They include individual screeners and note if an investment fund invests or does not invest in a number of socially and morally focused areas.