What Is Socially Conscious Investing?

An investment strategy that considers the fundamental soundness and financial return potential of an investment, as well as its positive impact

Investing for Good

At Chicory Wealth, we are passionate about our role in social change and stewardship of the planet. We provide customized portfolio management services that consider the financial return and the social good the investment will support. In fact, our entire portfolio is centered on investments that allow our clients to both use their assets to support companies in line with their values, as well as to avoid companies blatantly in contrast to those values.

We call this “Socially Conscious Investing,” though people use different terms to refer to generally the same strategy: 

  • Socially Responsible Investing (SRI)
  • ESG Investing (screening for environment, social, and governance issues)
  • Green Investing
  • Values-Based Investing
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ESG (Environmental, Social, Governance) has sparked a lot of interest with investors and financial markets in the past few years, though it has been around since at least 2006 with the publication of “Who Cares Wins” by the International Finance Corporation. When ESG first started, even the most socially conscious values investors hesitated to jump on the ESG bandwagon, but times have changed. What exactly is ESG investing, and why the enthusiasm?

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How We Invest

Our portfolio management strategy is centered around the philosophy of knowing what you own, so our portfolios are predominantly made up of individual stocks rather than opaque actively managed mutual funds or broad ETFs.

We perform traditional fundamental analysis and construct our portfolios in a manner in keeping with the tenants of diversification and risk-return analysis. We allocate portfolio weights according to our macroeconomic outlook and long-term trends and market conditions.

We monitor all our investments for both financial and socially conscious performance. We do this on an ongoing basis to make sure they continue to meet our fundamental criteria and will add new positions and subtract others from time to time throughout the year.

Shareholder Advocacy and Impact Investing

We also provide opportunities for clients who are interested in furthering their influence through investing, such as these:

Shareholder Advocacy

Some Chicory Wealth clients wish to use their shareholder status to advocate for corporate change. If you own stocks in a corporation, you can influence the management of the corporation in such areas as the environment, human rights, and democratic principles by voting for or against shareholder resolutions. This is called shareholder advocacy. The shareholder may vote in this way as an individual (online or by mail) or ask their financial advisor or broker to do it for them. Asking someone else to vote for them is called proxy voting, and Chicory Wealth is able to do proxy voting for those clients who want it.

Organizations involved with shareholder advocacy use strategies such as meeting with corporate managers about their concerns or submitting particular proxy resolutions on which the shareholders vote. Chicory Wealth works closely with several organizations involved with shareholder advocacy, including the Women Donors NetworkAs You Sow, Corporate Accountability, and others.

Read more about shareholder advocacy in these blogposts.

Impact Investing

Impact investing is generally defined as the investment of funds in organizations and corporations with the intention of creating a measurable social or environmental impact, in addition to a financial return. The term impact investing is sometimes used interchangeably with SRI, or socially responsible investing, but they are slightly different. Impact investing is more complex, in that it can include directly investing in small companies or start-ups that are not traded in the public markets. In other words, the investments can be made in both emerging and developed markets.

Right now, impact investing is generally the purview of ultra-high net worth individuals or institutions that can dedicate a portion of their assets to private equity and “venture capital,” wherein the investments have a clear social purpose. Some examples of impact investing include providing capital for community development organizations, green technology companies, micro-finance businesses, etc.

“There is great peace of mind when your financial planner, and the company, are decent people with similar values about the role of money in society.”

This testimonial was provided by a current client of Chicory Wealth. This client was not compensated for this testimonial. No material conflicts of interest exist since this client was not compensated nor did this client receive any other benefit for providing this content.

Let us help you realize your financial goals and your vision for a better world.