We will manage your account or in some cases seek the counsel of a money manager who will manage the account if it’s in an area that is beyond our expertise, comfort level, or investment philosophy. To the extent that we can, we will be aligning any recommendations with those values that are consistent with the tenants Socially Responsible Investing.
Socially Responsible Investing Facts
What is SRI?
Socially Responsible Investing (SRI) is a broad-based approach to investing that now encompasses an estimated $2.71 trillion out of $25.1 trillion in the U.S. investment marketplace today. SRI recognizes that corporate responsibility and societal concerns are valid parts of investment decisions. SRI considers both the investor’s financial needs and an investment’s impact on society. SRI investors encourage corporations to improve their practices on environmental, social, and governance issues. You may also hear SRI-like approaches to investing referred to as mission investing, responsible investing, double or triple bottom line investing, ethical investing, sustainable investing, or green investing.
As a result of its investing strategies, SRI also works to enhance the bottom lines of the companies in question and, in so doing, delivers more long-term wealth to shareholders. In addition, SRI investors seek to build wealth in underserved communities worldwide. With SRI, investors can put their money to work to build a more sustainable world while earning competitive returns both today and over time.
Socially responsible investors include individuals and also institutions, such as corporations, universities, hospitals, foundations, insurance companies, public and private pension funds, nonprofit organizations, and religious institutions. Institutional investors represent the largest and fastest growing segment of the SRI world.
What are the approaches investors typically utilize in SRI?
Screening, which includes both positive and negative screens, is the practice of evaluating investment portfolios or mutual funds based on social, environmental and good corporate governance criteria. Screening may involve including strong corporate social responsibility (CSR) performers, avoiding poor performers, or otherwise incorporating CSR factors into the process of investment analysis and management. Generally, social investors seek to own profitable companies that make positive contributions to society. “Buy” lists may include enterprises with, for example, good employer-employee relations, strong environmental practices, products that are safe and useful, and operations that respect human rights around the world.
Conversely, many social investors avoid investing in companies whose products and business practices are harmful to individuals, communities, or the environment. It is a common mistake to assume that SRI “screening” is simply exclusionary, or only involves negative screens. In reality, SRI screens are being used more and more frequently to invest in companies that are leaders in adopting clean technologies and exceptional social and governance practices.
Shareholder advocacy involves socially responsible investors who take an active role as the owners of corporate America. These efforts include talking (or “dialoguing”) with companies on issues of social, environmental or governance concerns. Shareholder advocacy also frequently involves filing, and co-filing shareholder resolutions on such topics as corporate governance, climate change, political contributions, gender/racial discrimination, pollution, problem labor practices and a host of other issues. Shareholder resolutions are then presented for a vote to all owners of a corporation.
The process of dialogue and filing shareholder resolutions generates investor pressure on company management, often garners media attention, and educates the public on social, environmental and labor issues. Such resolutions filed by SRI investors are aimed at improving company policies and practices, encouraging management to exercise good corporate citizenship and promoting long-term shareholder value and financial performance.
Community Investing directs capital from investors and lenders to communities that are underserved by traditional financial services institutions. Community investing provides access to credit, equity, capital, and basic banking products that these communities would otherwise lack. In the US and around the world, community investing makes it possible for local organizations to provide financial services to low-income individuals and to supply capital for small businesses and vital community services, such as affordable housing, child care, and healthcare.
How many assets are involved in SRI?
The Social Investment Forum’s 2007 Report on Socially Responsible Investing Trends identified $2.71 trillion in total assets under management using one or more of the three core socially responsible investing strategies—screening, shareholder advocacy, and community investing. From 2005 to 2007, social investing enjoyed a growth rate of 18-perecent, increasing from $2.29 trillion in 2005. Nearly one out of every nine dollars under professional management in the United States today — 11% of the $25.1 trillion in total assets under management tracked in Nelson Information’s Directory of Investment Managers—is involved in socially responsible investing. Most of the assets are in separate accounts, portfolios managed for institutional and individual clients.
How many SRI mutual funds are there?
As of 2007, there were 260 socially screened mutual fund products in the US, with assets of $201.8 billion. By contrast, there were just 55 SRI funds in 1995 with $12 billion in assets. SRI mutual funds span a range of investments, including domestic and international investments, and a growing range of products are available, including hedge funds and ETFs (exchange traded funds).
What is the fastest growing area of SRI?
Community investing is the fastest growing area of SRI. Over the past decade, community investing has grown over 540-percent, from $4 billion to $25.8 billion in assets. The Social Investment Forum’s “1% in Community” campaign encourages all investors to direct at least 1% of their investments to community investing products that serve communities overlooked by traditional lenders. Since launching the campaign in 2001, SIF members have increased their investments in CI from $800 million to $2.4 billion.