We all want to live in a way that reflects who we are and what we value. One of your greatest powers as a consumer is the ability to make conscious choices about where your money goes and who it benefits.
Being a conscious consumer is about so much more than choosing where to shop. It’s also about making mindful decisions about where you invest your savings. When you invest in companies whose behavior aligns with your values, you can make an impact by supporting the things you care about while seeking to build your own wealth.
If you want to get ahead in life while staying true to your values, mindful investing is your way forward. Although the phrase means different things to different people, it’s essentially about knowing what you’re investing in—and making sure your money is invested in companies whose values more closely align with yours.
To us, mindful investing means looking beyond fads in the market or the current hot stock. It might mean assessing each company’s impact on society and the planet, and investing in companies that exhibit sustainable, ethical behavior. Our Investment Services team can help provide recommendations to help you build a customized investment portfolio that’s tailored not only to your financial goals, but also to your personal values.
Understanding environment, social and governance
How do you determine which businesses align with your values? Most investors with this mindset use a common set of criteria for evaluating the sustainability and ethical impact of a business as well as its future financial performance. These criteria include three key factors: environmental, social and governance (ESG).
ESG includes non-financial performance indicators that cover everything from accountability to working conditions to the company’s carbon footprint. The number of investment funds that incorporate ESG factors is growing rapidly as more investors seek opportunities to support socially conscious businesses. While your personal list of ESG criteria will depend on your specific values and priorities, socially conscious investment funds will generally screen companies based on the following factors:
How does the business perform as a steward of our natural environment?
- Waste and pollution
- Resource depletion
- Greenhouse gas emission/climate change
- Alternative energy
How does the company treat people?
- Employee relations and diversity
- Employee benefits, family leave, living wages
- Helping local communities
- Health and safety
How does the corporation police itself?
- ESG awareness
- Equal pay
- Donations and political lobbying
- Board diversity and structure
Benefits of mindful investing
While it’s good to know your money is helping to make a positive impact on the world, choosing socially responsible investments is often a financially responsible move, as well. Filling your portfolio with ethical and sustainable companies can help minimize your risks and fuel the long-term growth of your investments.
How? We believe businesses that look after the health and safety of their employees are more likely to increase productivity and attract quality employees. And corporations that invest in their communities while limiting their environmental impact are actively working to ensure their longevity, choosing long-term growth over short-term profits.
By sharing your values with us, we can build a portfolio together that supports your financial and personal goals. Find out how you can get started investing with impact and connect with our Investment Services team today.
ESG Investment Risk is the risk that because the methodology assigns weights to securities of issuers for nonfinancial reasons, the Strategy may underperform the broader equity market or other strategies that do not utilize ESG criteria when selecting investments. Regulatory changes or interpretations regarding the definitions and/or use of ESG criteria could have a material adverse effect on the ability to invest in accordance with our investment policies and/or achieve our investment objective.
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Free and simple tools are available for research firms and financial professionals at INVESTOR.GOV/CRS, which also provides educational materials about broker-dealers, investment advisors, and investing.
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