What the Belle Is…SRI

The National Climate Assessment report released last week basically confirmed what we’ve known all along… human activity is the leading driver of climate change. Since it appears this administration isn’t going to do anything to combat global warming (quite the opposite), it’s on us to make responsible choices in our own lives and to elect representatives who are committed to action. We’re focused on finance over here so let’s talk about putting your money where your mouth is a.k.a. Socially Responsible Investing (SRI).

Socially Responsible Investing means avoiding investment in companies that could be considered harmful to our community and our planet. In our communities, this usually means “sin stocks” which include industries such as alcohol, tobacco, gambling, and weapons. For our environment, investors who seek to be socially responsible will typically exclude oil & gas companies or those known to have a large carbon footprint.

There is no set framework so you can be as broad or specific as you’d like. You might decide that you’re not opposed to owning Heineken which owns the Bay Area’s very own Lagunitas. Or you could choose to exclude companies that don’t have a woman on the board of directors.

Avoiding harmful companies is great, but you can take it a step further by actively investing in companies that are doing good. So for example, instead of just avoiding oil companies, you might deploy those funds into a solar company.

Then again, if you’re all in on sin here are some options for you ?:

  • VICEX – Like the ticker would suggest, you can now easily invest in your vices. Skip the craps table in Vegas and get in on a whole basket of “being bad.”
  • WSKY – Yes, you can now buy a whiskey fund which is probably more of a legitimate investment than my husband’s so-called collection.

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