Socially Responsible Investment

The choices your company makes about investing money can have far-reaching implications for communities and the environment. For most companies, superannuation fund options made known to employees will be the primary area of influence.

For those businesses with money to invest in funds or other companies, there are plenty of advisors in the financial services industry with ethical investment expertise.

Negative screening of investments (screening some companies out of a portfolio) can help you avoid companies in which you don't want to invest. These might be companies that damage the environment or people's health, or companies that don't protect workers' health and safety.

Positive screening means you can invest in companies which are doing work you want to support, perhaps those working to advance women or employ people with disabilities.

Dead-Set Winners (low cost/effort - every company should do these)

  • Consider sustainable responsible investment (SRI) knowledge and credentials when assessing superannuation fund managers
  • Obtain information about ethical investment from superannuation funds and make it accessible to employees
  • Promote not-for-profit and industry superannuation funds that have lower fees
  • If you have company funds to invest, develop a statement of investment principles to clarify your company's ethical position and preferences

Good Practice (require moderate investment and will provide moderate return)

  • If you are an institutional investor, consider signing up to the United Nations Principles of Responsible Investment
  • If you have company funds to invest, place at least some of your investments in an ethical investment fund
  • If you want to invest funds in individual companies, direct them to those companies doing good work for the environment or the community, or companies with strong corporate responsibility programs
  • Consider using fund managers, financial advisors and superannuation funds certified by the Ethical Investment Association Australasia

Cutting Edge (high cost/effort with high returns)

  • If it is appropriate to your financial situation, consider putting all your investments into an ethical investment fund
  • Use the services of a bank that chooses not to finance unethical ventures

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