|Investments should reflect values. Profit is fine -- as long as it comes with accountability and responsibility. Investments should have both financial AND social objectives.
Corporations should be responsible to communities in their for-profit undertakings, and make positive contributions to society. There are a variety of socially-responsible investment companies that screen companies based on their charitable giving/public affairs programs; diversity in management positions, on the board of directors and in the vendors they work with; employee benefit programs that address work/family concerns; employee relations and labor practices; environmental impact; practices outside the United States; and the safety and usefullness of products.
This information is offered with no guarentee; consult a professional broker before making any financial investment decision. This is not a comprehensive list of socially-responsible investment companies.
Domini Social Investments
The Domini Social Equity Fund (DSEF) is the first socially responsible index fund in the United States. The Domini 400 Social Index is the established benchmark for measuring the impact of social screening on financial performance. It is composed of 400 corporations that pass multiple, broad-based social screens designed to meet the needs of most social investors. The DSEF does not invest in the manufacturers of alcohol, tobacco, gambling, nuclear power or military weaponry (to 2% of gross revenues). They seek to invest in companies with the good track records regarding Corporate Citizenship, Diversity, Employee Relations, Environment, Non-U.S. Impact, and Safe and Useful Products. "We vote social issue proxy resolutions consistently with the Fund's own social criteria and occasionally co-sponsor such resolutions."
The Calvert Group
The Calvert Group manages many funds, 9 of which have extensive social screens for Environmental Efficiency and Awareness, Workforce Diversity, Product Safety and Quality, Innovative Personnel Policies and Positive
Corporate Citizenship. We not only believe investments can help individuals build for their own futures; we also believe they can be constructive tools for our world." Calvert's High Social Impact Investment Program began in
1990, when Calvert Social Investment Fund shareholders agreed to allow the Fund to invest up to one percent of assets in high social impact opportunities. Combined investments have provided more than $7.7 million in investment capital to a variety of community-based organizations, including Low-income housing funds, Community development loan funds , Micro-enterprise development funds and Community development credit unions. The Calvert Group now has available a free service at its web site called "Do you know what you own?", where investors can view the results of the survey and find out what their fund invests in.
Parnassus looks for companies that respect the environment, treat their employees well, have effective equal employment opportunity policies, good community relations and ethical business dealings. They will not invest in companies that manufacture alcohol, tobacco or weapons. Also screened out are companies that are involved with gambling or generate electricity from nuclear power. The Fund's principal investment objective is long-term growth of capital.
In contrast to Wall Street convention, the Parnassus Fund uses a contrarian investment strategy, investing in stocks that are out of favor with the financial community and are, therefore, undervalued. The Fund looks for companies whose financial strength and resilience suggest that their stock is likely to increase in value over time.
Pax World Fund Family
A socially responsible group of mutual funds that serve individuals and institutions who wish to invest in keeping with their ethical beliefs. The Funds evaluate their holdings from both financial and social perspectives, selecting only those that treat their employees, their environment, and their communities with respect. The Funds invest in companies that provide life-supportive goods and services such as health care, technology, pollution control, housing, utilities, and education. The Funds do not invest in companies involved in manufacturing defense or weapons-related products or companies which derive revenue from the manufacture of tobacco, liquor, and/or gambling products.
Dreyfus Third Century Fund
primary goal is to provide capital growth. Current income is a secondary goal. The Fund invests principally in common stocks, or securities convertible into common stocks, of companies which, in the opinion of the Fund's management, not only meet traditional investment standards, but also show evidence that they conduct their business in a manner that contributes to the enhancement of the quality of life in America.
Co-op America's chart for some of the major social funds which depicts the social and environmental screens used. Also included is minimum account and IRA information.
Social Investment Forum
A national nonprofit membership organization promoting the concept, practice and growth of socially responsible investing. Its Web site includes press releases relating to S-R investing and performance, an Online Guide to Socially Responsible Investing and a Socially Responsible Mutual Funds Performance Chart, updated monthly.
Socially Responsible Mutual Fund Screens
A list of various S-R Mutual Funds, what they screen for, the minimum opening deposit amounts, minimum IRA payments, and links to Web sites for more information.
"Mission: Social Responsibility" Directory
An excellent index of Web sites for organizations dedicated to promoting social responsibility.
How to Screen Investments for Social and Environmental Factors
Socially Responsible Investing FAQ
The Investment FAQ
My own comments re: sustainable AND ethical business practices that put people and the environment over profits.