Over at Co-op America, they have a great article up about socially responsible investing that includes seven big ways that your money can help fight climate change. Since they can probably do a better job of explaining all of it to you, I will let them….but not before I put up the quick list, and then you can head on over for more information!
1. Choose a mutual fund that invests in clean energy. You can find green mutual funds in the financial section of our National Green Pages. These funds invest in clean energy companies, as well as innovators in other fields that are advancing clean energy through their operations. The examples are many, and include Green Century Balanced Fund, Portfolio 21, Sierra Club Mutual Funds, the Winslow Green Growth Fund, and the New Alternatives Fund.
2. Choose an energy-focused community investment – Community investments help direct capital toward communities that are underserved by traditional financial institutions. Community development loan funds can go to many different kinds of recipients; you can find funds that specifically direct capital toward energy investments in inner-city or developing world communities. (You can also open checking or savings accounts with community development banks or credit unions to make a difference for climate change while building sustainable communities.)
3. Vote your proxies – If you own stock in businesses connected to the climate crisis, such as coal companies, oil and gas companies, automobile companies, and electric power companies, concerned shareholders like you may have already filed resolutions to urge them to take action. Review your proxy ballot when you receive it by mail, and be sure to cast your vote in favor of progress on climate issues.
4. Choose a mutual fund that pushes for change -Socially responsible mutual funds often incorporate conventional companies into their holdings so they can hold companies accountable for their business practices and push for greater environmental responsibility. Mutual fund companies, just like individual shareholders, are part-owners of the companies in which they invest, and can use that staus to arrange dialogues with company management, or force votes on company policies at annual shareholders’ meetings.
5. Choose a clean-energy ETF – ETFs (exchange traded funds), are funds that track an “index,” but can be traded like a stock. An index is essentially a list of stocks assembled to track the performance of a particular market segment, so that when an ETF is attached to an index of, say, clean technology companies or renewable energy companies, you can feel secure that your investment is helping to curb climate change.
6. Work with a green financial planner – A financial planner can help walk you through all of the above strategies and help you decide what type of responsible investment might be right for you and your financial situation. (Co-op America does not recommend any specific investments and strongly encourages consulting a financial planner.) Tell your planner that you’re greatly concerned about climate change and emphasize that you want your investments to reflect your values, and she or he should be able to steer you toward investments that bring a positive return for people and the planet.
7. Raise your voice – Join Co-op America’s action campaigns to convince investors and financiers to say “no” to coal and dirty energy and “yes” to a renewable energy future. As an investor and a consumer, you have a powerful say in how companies conduct their business.
So if you are interested in getting started in “green” investing, this might be a good resource for you. Check it out at Co-op America.