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Investing in Enviro-Friendly Funds

Socially Responsible Shareholder Activism; Its Time has Come

© 2014 Michelle Rebecca; all rights reserved; content may not be copied, rewritten, or republished without written permission; Posted January 6, 2014

Kids learn about environmentally friendly investing; photo courtesy Michelle Rebecca


In the 21st century, many Americans willingly participate in a host of environmentally friendly activities. We separate plastic from glass. We recycle cardboard. We bring reusable bags to the grocery store, keep the thermostat a few degrees off perfect and turn off the lights when not in use.

But have you considered the companies in your stock portfolio? Here’s how you can put your money where your mouth is when it comes to saving for your future.

Socially Responsible Investing

Sometimes referred to as sustainable, mission, socially conscious, or ethical investing, SRI encourages people to promote the ideals they believe in by putting funds into companies that share the same philosophy.

Think of SRI like Corporate Social Responsibility in reverse: whereas CSR begins with the company, SRI begins with the individual investor. In many cases, SRI results from an organization’s CSR.

Environmentally friendly investing doesn’t require a large amount of research on the part of the individual. Many large investment companies offer SRI funds that do the legwork for you.

Not only must the companies in the fund meet the strict criteria of the investment company’s definition of SRI, the fund manager will also likely feel that the investments stand a fair chance of earning money.

Do It Yourself Investing

If you love looking at stock charts, reading research reports, and your TV is constantly tuned to CNBC, you may prefer doing your own research. Luckily, finding out which companies are enviro-friendly and which companies aren’t is likely easy to discover.

Simply visit a company website, search its “About Us” and CSR statements, and you’re on your way. Common sense is required here; Dow Chemical and Monsanto probably shouldn’t make your SRI list.

Going Local with Your Investment Portfolio

Stock and bonds aren’t your thing? You like to see the fruits of your financial investment in a nuts-and-bolts kind of way? No problem. Check out your local businesses.

Perhaps your favorite bakery that makes those yummy organic fruit pies or the green construction company that has dozers for sale needs a silent partner. The point is, small, sustainable businesses are your friends, so don’t overlook opportunities in your own backyard.

There’s also the community investing option, a fast-growing segment of SRI, according to Forbes. This approach helps underserved communities around the world, not just companies, get access to funding for education, housing, childcare and healthcare.

Shareholder Activism

If you like your current investments but are disappointed in their lack of CSR, you might make a good shareholder activist.

Warning: this approach is only for the determined. It takes attending boring shareholder meetings, rounding up fellow investors, identifying clear goals, and communicating those goals to company management.

And even if you get that far, you’re still not done, because you have to convince the powers that be that SRI is the green wave of the future.

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About the Author:

Michelle is a blogger and freelancer. She's written about almost every topic under the sun, and loves constantly learning about new subjects and industries while she's writing. In her spare time she enjoys spending time outdoors with her dogs. Follow her on Twitter and Google+.

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