Many investors are no longer content to pursue financial gain for themselves alone but want their investment strategy to purposely impact the world for good while doing so…. Intelligent, HEARTFELT INVESTING. The investment world refers to this approach as ‘Socially Responsible Investing’ or SRI -or as Jack Brill describes it in his book Investing From The Heart: The Guide to Socially Responsible Investments and Money Management ” the channeling of personal, community, or workplace capital toward just, peaceful, healthy, environmentally sound purposes and away from destructive uses.”
Socially Responsible Investing is inspiring changes throughout the corporate world, from marketing to policy and even investment analysis.
…has developed over recent years resulting in benefits for all types of investors, from ‘do-it-yourselfers’ to institutional asset managers and for our clients at WorthWhile Wealth Council. We’ve watched closely the progress of Socially Responsible Investing for more than 20 years. But it’s only been possible recently to integrate this innovative element into the strategic design of diversified portfolios that demand a high degree of due diligence and multiple other screens in selecting funds.
Investors are now able:
…to match consumer demand for corporate stewardship that’s driving corporate marketing, policy and governance with investor tools to select those standout companies in building portfolios allowing clients to invest with their hearts as well as their heads – Investing, not just for themselves but to make the world a better place. Enlightened investor attitudes have spurred the marketplace led to an explosion of SRI funds making it possible to design and manage efficient portfolios infusing investor values toward the highest possible worth for themselves and for our world.
We are enthusiastic about bringing Socially Responsible Investing advances into the fabric of our deeply rooted and decades enduring investment process. Most importantly, since the assets we manage belong to our clients, SRI will be implemented through a tailored process for each client reflecting their own values and objectives toward the environment, society and the way corporations govern themselves as part of their investment policy statement.
With our Socially Responsible Investing commitment, WorthWhile Wealth Council is proud to help our clients saturate their wealth with its highest worth.
Jewish Law states that investments make us property owners, giving us the responsibility to use our holdings to prevent immediate and potential harm.
The Qur’an established guidelines based on the teachings of Islam, (now known as Shariah-Compliant Finance) to govern the relationship between risk and profit, along with the responsibilities of institutions and individuals. It states that money should be a medium of exchange, not an asset that grows over time.
A Quaker Philadelphia Yearly Meeting prohibited members from participating in the slave trade, marking one of the first occurrences of SRI in its current form.
Leader John Wesley was one of the most articulate early adopters of SRI. He urged his followers to shun profiting at the expense of their neighbors. Consequently, they avoided partnering or investing with those who earned their money through alcohol, tobacco, weapons, or gambling (sometimes referred to as sin stocks). These actions essentially established social investment screens.
Socially responsible investing was largely driven by politics and concerns about the Vietnam War. Protestors boycotted companies that provided weapons for the war, while groups of students demanded university endowment funds no longer invest in defense contractors. Other movements raised awareness about social, environmental and economic issues, bridging the gap between corporate and investor responsibility.
Supported by consistent efforts from both investors and corporations, it was clear that the SRI movement was here to stay. A growing number of new funds combined social and environmental consciousness with financial objectives, reflecting the prevalence of aspirational progressive values. The Pax World Fund and the First Spectrum Fund were established in 1971, followed by the Dreyfus Third Century Fund, firmly backed by over $25 million.
In the wake of the Bhopal, Chernobyl and Exxon Valdez disasters, concerns about the environment and climate change were at the core of SRI in the 1980s. This led to the launch of The United States Sustainable Investment Forum (SIF) in 1984, which has now become one of the largest resources for SRI and impact investing.
By 1990, the popularity of SRI mutual funds and socially conscious investing hastened the need for a way to measure performance. Launched in 1990, The Domini Social Index (which is now the MSCI KLD 400 Social Index), was comprised of 400 U.S. publicly-traded companies that met certain social and environmental standards.
2000s and beyond
In 2006, the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment was launched, establishing guidelines for mainstream investors to incorporate ESG (environmental, social and governance) issues into investment practices. This forward-thinking approach was reinforced by the UN Sustainable Development Goals in 2015. These goals, backed by all 193 UN Member States, are an urgent call to solve the world’s most pressing development challenges.