Socially Responsible Investing
Many investors are starting to research the companies that they invest in to find out if they care about their impact on the environment, if they are socially responsible, and if they invest in sustainable programs. This is increasingly important to millennials and will grow in importance as they age. Over the last 10 years, interest in socially responsible investing has exploded. At the time of this writing, there are more than 100 funds managing $6.75 billion for investors who only want to invest in socially responsible companies. So what is socially responsible investing and are there any benefits to investing in companies that adhere to this policy?
Types of Socially Responsible Investing
Environmentally Social Investments: While there are many avenues that can qualify a company as socially responsible, there are a few key points that most investors seem to be looking for. One of the most important concerns for investors in this area is the environmental impact that a company has and how involved they are in actively reducing that impact. Companies that engage in innovation in this area are typically considered for investment portfolios that include socially responsible investments (SRIs). Things like the amount of pollution a plant emits or how a company disposes of its toxic waste would be just a few examples of what is measured here.
Charitable Investments: Another area of concern is poverty. Investors in SRIs want to know that a company is donating some of its excess funds or products to the needy, operating a foundation, or is considering its role in helping to lift people out of poverty. This is especially important with regard to the wages that are paid to workers, their treatment and the site conditions of plants that corporations operate overseas.
Sustainable Agriculture Investments: Sustainable agriculture is another area that SRI investors look toward in investment opportunities. This area of analysis is key when analyzing food growers, agriculture companies, and food distributors. Investors will want to know that these companies are growing their food in a wholesome manner and also taking measures to see that every last piece of food is consumed and not thrown out or wasted. Another important consideration to SRI investors will be to see if these companies donate any excess food to the hungry.
Health Investments: Lastly, obesity and a company’s role in combating it is also high on the list for socially responsible investors. They want to know that a company is using more natural ingredients, decreasing fat content, and other harmful additives in its food.
Benefits to Investing in Socially Responsible Companies
Although the data is still coming in and only time will tell, it is theorized that investing in companies that follow this model reduces risk for investors. It’s believed that these companies are actively targeting these initiatives on their own without being forced to because of changing laws or being imposed with fines for not meeting certain standards of operation. Because of this, it can be predicted that companies will not need to spend as much on legal fees, fines, or forced plant upgrades as a result of these failures. In addition, by being proactive about reducing carbon footprints, it is assumed that the company will also save on waste disposal fees.
Socially responsible investing is an interesting new and growing area of investing. With over 100 funds already actively managing money for investors interested in this category, it’s no wonder that interest in SRI continues to grow. If you’re thinking about investing in a fund like this, please reach out to us and let us know. We’d be happy to talk to you about how we can help you achieve this investment goal.