I'm hearing more and more about sustainable or socially responsible investing. What exactly qualifies as sustainable investing and how do I find out more information about these portfolios?
Sustainable investing has become a much bigger realm over the last ten years or so. Many companies that once largely ignored this realm now embrace the practice as part of their ongoing culture within the business community. What Scott has posted is very good, accurate information that should provide you with some clear research points.
In your research you will come across ESG which stands for Environmental Social Governance. Impact investing is another term for triple bottom line investing. Doing Social Good, Making Money for Investors and acting in sustainable ways. There are a few guides on this website you may wish to check out as well. You Tube has some good educational materials and some wacky stuff too. I posted 5 Myths of Socially responsible investing under "stewardship matters" on You Tube. The Social Investment Forum is a good resource to consider. We utilize independent screening software to assess mutual funds, money mangers and stock for 17 distinct core values and then drill down from there. There are also best of class screening and strict screens. Some investors may want screen faith issues and some it's environmental. Some care only for social causes and others want complex screens or want to see the impact of their investments locally or within a narrow area. Go check out on Google MSCI KLD 400 Index. It will surprise you this 20 year old index has done quite well. I remember 10 years ago there were only a handful of indexes dealing with ESG and now over 300 today. My first investment with a client was Calvert Social Investment Fund 1986 with no companies in South Africa- exactly what the client requested of me. Don't let advisors tell you what your values are rather look for the ones that know how to ask and deal with your specific situation.
Ratula- if you are interested in SRI and sustainable investment, you also may want to learn about social impact investing, which is gaining interest and support among investors. A number of websites devoted to impact investing have sprouted in the past few years. Google "social impact investing" and you will see a plethora of references.