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Some individuals believe that return on investment shouldn’t be the only criterion for how they invest their money. For them, the social impact of investing is just as important — perhaps, more important.
The history of socially responsible investing stretches at least as far back as the mid-18th century, but its more modern form began taking shape in the 1960s, amidst the fight for civil rights and the emerging anti-Vietnam protests.
More than $8.7 trillion is managed under sustainable and responsible investing principles.¹ This includes mutual funds, endowments and even venture-capital funds.
Amounts in mutual funds are subject to fluctuation in value and market risk. Shares, when redeemed, may be worth more or less than their original cost.
What Is “Socially Responsible Investing?”
The definition of socially responsible investing has evolved. And it may be referred to by different names, such as “sustainable and responsible investing” or “values-based investing.”
Whatever term is used, the investment discipline is usually characterized by a set of principles that govern how investments are selected. One widely used framework includes environmental, social and corporate governance criteria (ESG).
ESG criteria of good corporate governance, positive environmental impact, and responsible community involvement are a guide for making investment selections, akin to other investment-related criteria, such as price/earnings ratio or revenue growth.
The underlying belief is that good corporate practices may lead to better long-term corporate performance.
Investor experience with socially responsible investing will vary. As with any mutual fund or exchange-traded fund, socially responsible investments are subject to fluctuation in value and market risk. Shares, when redeemed, may be worth more or less than their original cost.
Individuals should also recognize that each investment approach may operate under a different set of principles, so you should be careful that your selection mirrors your personal values and beliefs.
Provided by Ed Wettig, CFP, Wettig Capital Management which offers investment management, financial planning and retirement income strategies. Securities, insurance and investment advisory services offered through Royal Alliance Associates, Inc. Member FINRA/SIPC. Wettig Capital Management is a marketing designation.
1. The Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment, 2016