Socially Responsible Investing

The next step in the green revolution—after buying a hybrid, showering with a friend and turning off the lights, requires socially responsible investing or SRI in green terminology.

“Not with my money,” you say. I understand your dilemma. SRI is neither profitable nor environmentally friendly in many instances. Investing in an environmentally friendly company may cost you, considering these companies demonstrate poor return on investment, compared to say: tobacco, alcohol, oil drilling and firearms.

Historically, these sinful industries have made investors rich and continue to out pace the bio tech, communications and infrastructure industries. Something else to consider when investing in a SRI, are these companies green on the outside and black on the inside, are they cashing in on the green PR craze while exploiting labor in some third world country. They may be conglomerates with diversified companies on both sides of the environmental fence.

You may be a SRI and not even know it. The majority of SRI investment funds are managed by institutional investors. It’s a safe bet that if your investments are managed by a public pension fund or religious organization, it may be costing you returns for their virtuous idealism.

Market indicators demonstrate that you will see healthier returns providing you invest in more traditional markets; companies with proven track records that continuously out pace collective fads, providing of course you can live with yourself the day after tomorrow.

A Green Reality

Is the national obsession with going green an eclectic fad stoked by the media?
Takes me back to the propaganda years of Carter’s administration when they trumpeted in the first energy crisis, mandating we all drive 55 MPH telling us it was our moral duty to conserve energy; smile and like it. Our response as a nation was to built larger gas guzzling SUVs and raise the speed limit to 75 MPH.

Granted a heightened awareness encouraging energy conservation is a good thing but can we really expect people to suspend their quality of life, and abandon the high standard of living they’ve grown accustomed? (Different shade of Green)

Can we really expect the rest of the industrialized world that competes in the same global market—industrialized nations that trail our standard of living by light years to impose strict environmental controls that inhibit production and stifle growth? I think not. Why should they care about the hypothetical threat of global warming when their economies are stagnating and their populations scramble for basic human necessities?

What chance does the environment have against the deprivations of an incessant human race? The quintessential environmental question here is should humans be cast back to more primitive societies in favor of the environment. It all makes me a little nostalgic. Hey, what ever happened to earth day anyway?