Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Invest in Change

What if I told you that you could change the world for the better and make a tidy profit doing it? Sounds too good to be true, right? Well, there is a big groundswell of interest these days in SRI (socially responsible investing). I realize this is counterculture to many progressives concerned about poverty, social justice, and the environment. We are far more comfortable boycotting Walmart and volunteering at soup kitchens then engaging the stock market!

However, the practical reality at the end of the day is that as long as unjust and environmentally unfriendly practices are profitable, they will be very difficult to defeat. We can use the power to withold our dollar from unethical businesses, but we can also award our investment dollars to those companies that are involved in sustainable, eco-friendly, socially ethical business. Indeed, with current trends in organic foods, fair trade, green energy, and the like, there is a great profit potential for investors who support this growing movement.

Now I realize that many activists do not have money in a private stock account. However, I would guess that most of us have money in either an IRA or a 401(k). Depending on your plan you may have the ability to purchase individual stocks or mutual funds that support green or SRI causes. If you are restricted in your investments (as many 401(k)'s are), you may want to consider rolling over your retirement funds to a private IRA account (no penalties incurred), so that you can have greater flexibility in your investments.

There are lots of resources out there to get you started. Here is a list that I have found useful.


These sites offer information on SRI and Green investing, as well as reports on specific stocks and mutual funds of interest. You can order a free guide to SRI investments, I haven't received mine yet but it looks like it will be very useful. If you are someone who finds researching stocks as interesting as watching paint peel, a solid place to start is the Winslow Green Growth Fund (WGGFX).