Socially responsible investing can be defined most succinctly as the process of integrating personal values, societal concerns, and/or institutional mission into investment decision-making. The process considers the social and environmental consequences of investments, both positive and negative, within the context of rigorous financial analysis.
Screening involves adding a qualitative analysis of corporate policies, to the traditional quantitative analysis of profit potential. Qualitative screening helps us to understand corporate character and often helps us identify better-managed companies. A double bottom line (financial and social) analysis provides the basis for designing investment portfolios aligned with an investor’s values, while seeking to achieve their financial goals.
Shareholder Advocacy efforts include engaging in dialogue with companies and submitting and voting on proxy resolutions designed to positively influence corporate behavior. Socially conscious investors often work together to improve financial performance over time and enhance the well-being of all stakeholders—customers, employees, vendors, communities and the natural environment, as well as stockholders.
Community Investing directs capital to people in low-income communities who have difficulty accessing it through conventional channels. Many socially conscious investors earmark a percentage of their investments to community development financial institutions (CDFIs) that work to alleviate poverty, create jobs, and provide affordable housing, and finance small business development.