Is There Value In Being Socially Responsible When Investing

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Once considered a niche area of investment practice, socially responsible investing (SRI) now embraces a wide investment audience that includes individuals, including those of high net worth and otherwise, and institutions such as pension plans, endowments, and foundations. Religious tenets, political beliefs, specific events, and the broad remit of corporate responsibility—such as green investing and social welfare—all drive this investment practice.


Examples of Socially Responsible Investing

Socially responsible investing expresses the investor's value judgment, of which several approaches may be used.


One example is when an investor avoids companies or industries that offer products or services the investor perceives to be harmful. The tobacco, alcohol, and defense industries are commonly avoided by people who try to be socially responsible investors.

Another is considering a performance ranking in terms of how well a company performs, not only in terms of financial metrics but also regarding social, environmental, governance, and ethical issues.

Yet another involves active engagement between the company's shareholders and its management.

Finally, there is the activist tack that involves the investor advocating for specific issues.

One or a combination of these approaches can be a critical driver in the process of portfolio management and fiduciary oversight. Moreover, the practice is global, with different approaches emphasized in various countries as a function of their culture, government, business environment, and inter-relationship of these factors.


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