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  • You can improve the way companies operate by investing in those that strive to reduce pollution, protect our air and water, stop global warming, and watch over parks, wilderness and wildlife. These "socially responsible" companies will also demonstrate respect for human rights and a strong commitment to their community.

  • In addition to "socially responsible investing" (SRI), you can take "shareholder actions" to get companies to adopt specific policies that will result in a cleaner, safer, healthier world.

  • The potential for targeted shareholder actions and the loss of investor dollars persuaded companies like Ford Motor Company to introduce highly fuel-efficient vehicles; Home Depot to sell sustainably grown and harvested forest products; and Coca-Cola to save water in its bottling operations, among many other examples.

  • Women can play a particularly powerful role in using their investments to shape corporate behavior. Women already account for more than 50 percent of all stock ownership in the United States. By 2010, women will account for half of the private wealth in the country, or about $14 trillion.

  • According to a survey of investors by Merrill Lynch Investment managers, women make fewer investment mistakes than men - and make them less often. Women are also less likely than men to repeat the same mistake twice!

 


 

Dollars and Sense Options

  • You can use your 401(k) plan and other retirement savings, as well as regular investment income, to invest in "green" companies and socially responsible mutual funds.
  • Look for companies that are "screened" or evaluated to meet both your social and financial goals.
  • Read Soyouwanna.com (as in, "So you wanna be a socially responsible investor?") It's the most fun you'll ever have thinking about how to invest your money. And as websites go, this one offers a down-to-earth, easy-to-understand approach that's really refreshing.
  • Co-op America 's "Financial Planning Handbook" can provide a useful framework for planning your "green" investment portfolio.
  • Global Profit and Global Justice: Using Your Money to Change the World , by Deb Abbey, et.al. describes the important role individuals - through their consumption, philanthropy or investment choices - play in using their investment clout to protect the planet. Abbey turns to coffee, renewable energy, and even carpeting to provide specific examples of instances where consumers have helped persuade manufacturers to reduce environmental impacts and treat workers more humanely through investments and shareholder actions.
 
   

For Your Shopping List:

NOTE: The World Women Want, LLC is not responsible for any investments made as a result of the links provided on our website. The links offered on this site do not reflect any support or preference. We offer them to provide a "point of departure" for additional research into green investing.

Socially Responsible Mutual Funds

A mutual fund is a group of companies that are managed together as a single investment. Socially responsible mutual funds are evaluated based on the values of the companies they represent. The mutual funds below generally invest in companies that in their day-to-day business strive to reduce pollution, save energy, and otherwise protect the environment. Some of the more established socially responsible mutual funds that hold strong environmental values are:

Individual Investments

The firms below advise investors on individual companies that deliver capital appreciation through responsible environmental behaviors.

Community Investing

Community investing is the fastest-growing socially-responsible investment trend in the US . Community investments benefit the environment by supporting home energy-efficiency projects and building renovations and tackling other "green" community initiatives.

Shareholder Actions

Shareholder action is how investors use their status as part-owners of companies to influence corporate behavior. Shareholder activists attend annual meetings, file shareholder resolutions, or divest or sell off their company stock as a protest.

  • Co-op America has compiled this excellent overview of how to use shareholder actions effectively.
  • The Sierra Club is encouraging its members to participate in shareholder actions here.
 

In My House

My husband and I are of one mind when it comes to our investments. We will not invest in defense contractors, tobacco companies, junk food manufacturers, industrial polluters, and the extractive industries (oil, natural gas, coal and mining companies). Instead, we look for companies whose environmental and social justice values match ours. Over the years, we've invested in companies that advance organic agriculture, renewable energy, energy efficiency, alternative fuels, health care, and other industries that protect people and the planet rather than undermine them. We've made more money than we've lost; we've certainly made enough to justify creating an investment portfolio that matches our conscience. Honestly, neither of us could stomach reaping a dividend from a company that earned ITS dividends from making life on earth worse for the rest of us.

 
 

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