SRI (Socially Responsible Investing), Impact Investing, and ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) Investing belong to a growing category of investment choices that use traditional investing practices to responsibly impact society.
In the past, these investment strategies were viewed as too restrictive for most investors. But over time, improved evaluative data and competitive returns have pushed these strategies into the mainstream. Even though SRI, ESG investing, and impact investing share many similarities, they differ in some fundamental ways. Read on to learn more.
ESG Investing assesses how specific criteria of an investment, such as its environmental, social, and governance practices, may impact its performance. These factors are used in an evaluative capacity. In the United States alone, there are more than 350 ESG mutual funds and ETFs available.
SRI (Socially Responsible Investing) uses criteria from ESG investing to actively eliminate or select investments according to ethical guidelines. SRI investors may use ESG factors to apply negative or positive screens when choosing how to build their portfolio. For example, an investor may wish to allocate a portion of their portfolio to companies that contribute to charitable causes. In the U.S., more than 12 trillion dollars are currently invested according to SRI strategies.
Impact Investing or thematic investing differs from the two above. The main goal of impact investing is to secure a positive outcome regardless of profit. For example, an impact investor may use ESG criteria to find and invest in a company dedicated to the development of a cure for cancer despite whether success is guaranteed.
The biggest take away? There have never been more choices for keeping your investments aligned with your personal beliefs. But no matter how you decide to structure your investments, don’t forget it’s always a smart move to speak with your financial professional before making a major change.