Our investment choices can make a difference. South African apartheid, a system of legal racial segregation, was dismantled in the 1990s in part because socially responsible outside investors, companies and pension funds, divested their financial interests in the country until political changes were made.

 

Socially responsible investing (SRI) encompasses the protection of people, health, environment, and human rights. Typically, it means avoiding investing in companies involved in things like environmental degradation, endangering public health and well-being and human rights abuses.

 

Socially responsible fund managers, for example, avoid businesses involved in tobacco, alcohol, gambling and the development of weaponry. “Green” investing focuses on environmental protection.

 

If you’re interested in SRI, examine your values and use one of following three approaches: Divest your interests out of an unethical situation; screen out certain investments and avoid including them in your portfolio altogether; and/or become a shareholder activist to produce change through advocacy and shareholder voting rights. Professional money managers will employ similar strategies on your behalf, and you pay management fees. Check out socialinvestment.ca for more info.