Not too many of us will blurt out that they have no desire to be socially responsible. Most of us would rather portray ourselves as being socially responsible (it sounds like what we should be).
The challenge that we face is incorporating this feel good attitude into a sound investment portfolio. This task is not as difficult as it might seem.
Proponents of sustainable investing must face this quagmire each day. The root of the problem is often based on the vague and sometimes twisted idea of what it is to be a socially responsible investor. This uncertainty invariably leads all too many would be socially responsible investors to do what comes naturally to most of us busy humans...nothing.
Fortunately you have found this website and can now take one simple step towards the implementation of your very own SRI portfolio; all you have to do is click this link to set up an appointment.
There are essentially 3 pillars to socially responsible investing: social justice, governance and the environment. Each of these can have different implications to each of us personally, based on our past life experiences and our visions for the future.
To be socially responsible does not have to mean that you are against everything the oil sands stand for. Most, if not all, of Canada's SRI Canadian Equity Funds own companies doing business in the oil sands. It can just as easily mean that you are fed up with the enormous bonuses being paid out to corporate CEOs and Directors or the lack of transparency when it comes to political donations. Alternatively, you may feel that the gap between rich and poor in the world (or even at home in Canada) is simply getting out of control. Often, there is simply no right or wrong answers as to what it means to be socially responsible. Furthermore, nobody, including me, has the right to judge you or force you into supporting values that you do not truly believe in.
My personal favorite definition of SRI is simply a term I feel is synonymous with socially responsible and that is Sustainable Investing. What is the world going to hold for our great- grandchildren? Typically, society relies on governments to somehow spread the wealth created in our fair market system. That is, provide help to those that need it. Unfortunately, this system is broken in the minds and hearts of many. Governments are looking out for their own short term well-being and many of their forays into altruistic quests are often very short-lived once the books have to be balanced and the next election has to be won.
The rich and strong are getting richer and stronger using various political structures and the poor and weak are losing hope and dying. This path is not sustainable and is one of the key reasons people decide to seek out SRI portfolios. They are seeking out a way to encourage proper long term behaviours for corporations and governments. Specifically, the distribution of the worlds assets, not just standard measurements of wealth but things like air, water and food all need more than short term governments at the helm guiding the mother ship. These governments and their supporting cast of corporations often have goals that conflict with sustainable practices (often referred to as common sense). There are a myriad of challenges ahead for the planet and its citizens and we can all be involved in nudging the vessel in the right direction. SRI provides a very real framework to help us little guys in this pursuit.