It doesn’t matter if I invest with my values – all that matters is making a profit, right?
Well, it does matter. By investing in companies that do not align with your values, you are implicitly endorsing their business practices. If you do own them and are not actively voting your proxy to encourage better behavior, you are, for lack of a better phrase, asleep at the wheel.
Did you know that the four largest mutual fund companies did not vote for transparency in political contributions in 2013? If you have investments with these companies, and you consider yourself a responsible investor, you are not being represented. Here’s the story from the Harvard Law School Forum.
This doesn’t mean that you need to be actively managing your portfolio or that you have to give up return; but it does mean that you need to be informed. Seek out an advisor who understands the concept of responsible investing. Divest from fossil fuels. Use your proxy to challenge corporate pay structures and lobbying efforts. You can make a difference, invest with your values and still get competitive returns.
Peter Krull is President and Founder of Krull & Company, a leading socially and environmentally responsible investment management firm based in Asheville, NC.