Socially responsible funds hold securities in companies that adhere to particular social and environmental factors. In ensuring that these securities embody the investment principles, the funds undergo screening to determine their social responsibility. Generally, socially responsible investors have at least seven areas of consideration.
These are ethics and corporate governance, workplace practices, company environmental concerns, product impact and safety, community relations, and how investment upholds human rights. Therefore, if the company’s behavior and procedures are not in line with the above considerations, it may not be included among the socially responsible funds.
Socially responsible investment is an investment just like any other, only that it has a positive social impact. An ESG fund is also socially accountable since the funds mainly focus on positively impacting three key areas: social, environmental, and governance. Below are the various approaches to ensure that the socially responsible funds meet the social goals.
Negative Impact Screening
As the name implies, the technique involves screening the negative impact of the company’s services and products before investing in it. Therefore, if investors discover that the funds include companies applying unethical practices, such as cigarette manufacturing, they may not invest their money into such funds.
Positive Impact Screening
The positive impact screening in socially responsible funds involves looking at the positive impact of the company’s products and services. For instance, investors who care about environmental conservation will focus on socially responsible funds for environmental protection.
The investor’s portfolio is likely to be composed of funds involved in green practices. And the companies included in this category can be those that deal with water conservation, recycling programs, manufacture of energy-efficient appliances, and clean energy generation.
Community Project Investments
Community investing is one of the best approaches investors can try to hand in socially responsible investments. The investment strategy involves putting your money in socially responsible funds that comprise companies that develop projects focused on boosting local communities economically. It can also include companies utilizing locally available resources and creating job opportunities to benefit disadvantaged communities.
Types of Socially Responsible Investments
Exchange-traded Funds(ETFs) And Mutual Funds
Mutual funds are investment vehicles that pools assets from shareholders to invest in securities like bonds, stocks, and other assets. For instance, there are specialty funds in which the investment strategy is aimed at specific sectors, such as health care. The stocks given to this sector are highly correlated and allow investors to focus on socially responsible funds.
On the other hand, an ETF works closely like mutual funds, but each ETF will track a specific sector, index, commodity, and other assets. Therefore, an investor can focus on an industry or sector that comprises socially responsible funds.
A socially responsible fund holds securities in companies whose products and services have a positive social and environmental impact. For instance, ESG funds focus on businesses that positively impact society, the environment, and corporate governance.
One should use positive and negative screening techniques to determine whether a fund is socially responsible. Investors can venture into socially responsible funds by including mutual funds and ETFs in their investment portfolios.