Author Topic: Socially responsible investing. What do you recommend?  (Read 3111 times)

lyson15

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Socially responsible investing. What do you recommend?
« on: August 18, 2016, 12:25:29 PM »
There are a ton of "socially responsible" ETFs.
Which ones would you recommend that have low MER with decent performance.

Does anyone have a portfolio with only socially responsible ETFs?

DrF

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Re: Socially responsible investing. What do you recommend?
« Reply #1 on: August 18, 2016, 12:29:10 PM »
Depends on what you mean by socially responsible. No tobacco? No alcohol? No guns? No companies that do business in countries that have poor human rights records?

Here's a good article on the subject. https://livingafi.com/2016/06/17/unloading-guns-from-a-portfolio/

MustacheAndaHalf

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Re: Socially responsible investing. What do you recommend?
« Reply #2 on: August 18, 2016, 01:29:41 PM »
I would criticize small investments in social responsible investing as having less impact than other avenues available to you.  Consider a $5,000 investment in the S&P 500 and how it impacts the ~250th stock in the index.  Molson Coors Brewing Co gets $5 invested, or a roundoff of 1 share, when someone buys $5k of the S&P 500.  There is no impact to them, investing or not.

Why I would criticize is to encourage something more constructive, like encouraging an endowment (like a Yale or Harvard) to drop a socially bad company from their investing.  Or make a donation to a charity that seeks to combat the social harm, or a letter.  Investing in a social responsible fund risks making you feel good for something that the targeted companies can't detect.

Rubic

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Re: Socially responsible investing. What do you recommend?
« Reply #3 on: August 18, 2016, 01:51:24 PM »
My recommendation is to ignore funds that claim to invest
in socially responsible companies.  Rather take a portion of
your returns and contribute them to whatever causes you
feel strongly about (anti-smoking, tropical rain forests, etc.)

The money that you invest in the secondary market (assuming
you don't participate in IPOs) doesn't go directly into the coffers
of Phillip Morris International.  It has negligible effect on their
operations.
 
Quoting Andrew Tobias from "My Vast Fortune":

Socially Responsible Investing

"Forget it. By and large, I've always been fairly cold-blooded
about this -- the notion of shunning investments in
companies that have subsidiaries in South Africa (back
before the fall of apartheid) or that make cigarettes or
bombs. I think I'm as anti-apartheid, anti-tobacco, and
anti-bomb as most, but that limiting my investment choices
will ordinarily do no good at all (except maybe to make me
feel good), while reducing the returns I earn and then
contribute to fight apartheid, tobacco, or bombs."





ysette9

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Re: Socially responsible investing. What do you recommend?
« Reply #4 on: August 18, 2016, 01:55:02 PM »
I know this topic has been treated before in the forums (search feature broken now so I can't link for you). The consensus has always come down to you being better off just investing in something like VTSAX and taking the money you would have saved from not investing in a higher-fee/lower-performing "socially responsible" fund and just donating that to a charity of your choice.


Scandium

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Re: Socially responsible investing. What do you recommend?
« Reply #6 on: August 19, 2016, 11:07:30 AM »
Depends on what you mean by socially responsible. No tobacco? No alcohol? No guns? No companies that do business in countries that have poor human rights records?

Here's a good article on the subject. https://livingafi.com/2016/06/17/unloading-guns-from-a-portfolio/

"Socially responsible" is so vague and politically charged it's pointless. Clearly just marketing. Saw one cited in the above article that excluded nuclear power companies. What the heck is wrong with nuclear power, which has killed zero people in america? There are so many other things that are much worse, for example bed manufacturers kill more people.. Mostly these are objections of people who don't like something they don't understand.

Should really be called "Divested from certain things anti-science lefties don't like"-fund. If there was a right-wing creationist, anti global warming fund it would be equally stupid.

UKMustache

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Re: Socially responsible investing. What do you recommend?
« Reply #7 on: August 19, 2016, 02:00:03 PM »
Depends on what you mean by socially responsible. No tobacco? No alcohol? No guns? No companies that do business in countries that have poor human rights records?

Here's a good article on the subject. https://livingafi.com/2016/06/17/unloading-guns-from-a-portfolio/

"Socially responsible" is so vague and politically charged it's pointless. Clearly just marketing. Saw one cited in the above article that excluded nuclear power companies. What the heck is wrong with nuclear power, which has killed zero people in america? There are so many other things that are much worse, for example bed manufacturers kill more people.. Mostly these are objections of people who don't like something they don't understand.

Should really be called "Divested from certain things anti-science lefties don't like"-fund. If there was a right-wing creationist, anti global warming fund it would be equally stupid.

Before you read my post, please allow me to explain that I am in fact in complete support of nuclear energy. 

However I find your point that it has killed zero people in America and only lefties disagree with it a repugnant argument that ignores one of the key issues.
The waste from nuclear energy is deadly, not a bit but incredibly dangerous for 100,000 years.  Some plutonium has a half life of 80 million years.  Give some thought as to how long that is, it's nearly a sixth of the time the earth has existed so far.

We need to make some real advances in the safe disposal (or neutralisation) of the waste product from nuclear energy before anyone could even begin to consider it completely safe.

Read this - http://www.ft.com/cms/s/2/db87c16c-4947-11e6-b387-64ab0a67014c.html

Scandium

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Re: Socially responsible investing. What do you recommend?
« Reply #8 on: August 19, 2016, 02:12:49 PM »
Depends on what you mean by socially responsible. No tobacco? No alcohol? No guns? No companies that do business in countries that have poor human rights records?

Here's a good article on the subject. https://livingafi.com/2016/06/17/unloading-guns-from-a-portfolio/

"Socially responsible" is so vague and politically charged it's pointless. Clearly just marketing. Saw one cited in the above article that excluded nuclear power companies. What the heck is wrong with nuclear power, which has killed zero people in america? There are so many other things that are much worse, for example bed manufacturers kill more people.. Mostly these are objections of people who don't like something they don't understand.

Should really be called "Divested from certain things anti-science lefties don't like"-fund. If there was a right-wing creationist, anti global warming fund it would be equally stupid.

Before you read my post, please allow me to explain that I am in fact in complete support of nuclear energy. 

However I find your point that it has killed zero people in America and only lefties disagree with it a repugnant argument that ignores one of the key issues.
The waste from nuclear energy is deadly, not a bit but incredibly dangerous for 100,000 years.  Some plutonium has a half life of 80 million years.  Give some thought as to how long that is, it's nearly a sixth of the time the earth has existed so far.

We need to make some real advances in the safe disposal (or neutralisation) of the waste product from nuclear energy before anyone could even begin to consider it completely safe.

Read this - http://www.ft.com/cms/s/2/db87c16c-4947-11e6-b387-64ab0a67014c.html

Yes I'm aware.
a) there are decent ways to safely dispose of it. Bury it in the ground. It's relatively stable and not that much of it (compared to other shit we produce/dispose of). This is held back by NIMBYism and political nonsense. Oh and because of silly "green"/anti-science group's opposition there has been virtually no investment into better/safer/clear nuclear energy for decades, making matters worse.

b) More importantly; it's not about nuclear in isolation. It's compared to the alternatives, which for the time being is mainly coal. Whose noxious fumes kill about 50,000 people every YEAR! Yeah if the alternative was nuclear waste or free, clean energy duh I wouldn't want nuclear either. But it's not. Though it's starting to change, for the longest time it was nuclear vs coal. Because of rational fears and leftist science-deniers with mushroom cloud signs ("the creationists of the left") we chose coal. Absolute moronic.

Not accepting a half-decent stop-gap solution which is at least better than what we have now, in favor of dreaming of a pie in the sky, magical solution we may never have seems highly irresponsible, and anti-environment.

Radagast

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Re: Socially responsible investing. What do you recommend?
« Reply #9 on: August 19, 2016, 05:26:41 PM »
The waste from nuclear energy is deadly, not a bit but incredibly dangerous for 100,000 years.  Some plutonium has a half life of 80 million years.  Give some thought as to how long that is, it's nearly a sixth of the time the earth has existed so far.
Closer to a sixtieth.

snacky

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Re: Socially responsible investing. What do you recommend?
« Reply #10 on: August 19, 2016, 05:49:34 PM »
My approach has been to seek out positive investments rather than avoiding negative ones. What is doing good in the world? For me, solar power is a positive force in the economy and the world. I found a renewable resources ETF and put my money there. I run the risk that components are being made in sweatshops or mined unsustainably, but there is no perfect solution to the ethical investing issue. At some point it needs to be good enough.

human

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Re: Socially responsible investing. What do you recommend?
« Reply #11 on: August 20, 2016, 03:51:09 AM »
I'm willing to bet those solar panels are being put together in some facotry in china that doesn't give two shits about labour standards or environme tally safe practices. Does that mean don't invest in solar panels? Or solar energy is bad? Of course not, but we've created a monster so we have to sleep with it.

You could always give money to amnesty international or the red cross and see if they will give a return.

At the end of they day you are seeking profits like the rest of us. If you find a way to do that without opening a vegan non animal product store that pays a living wage all products made locally without VOCs, plastic or metal or wool shipped from far away. Basically a hemp store? Well if that works out for you let us know.

Scandium

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Re: Socially responsible investing. What do you recommend?
« Reply #12 on: August 20, 2016, 07:09:57 AM »
I'm willing to bet those solar panels are being put together in some facotry in china that doesn't give two shits about labour standards or environme tally safe practices.

China certainly has environmental issues, though they are trying to improve it lately. But the move of manufacturing to China has resulted in lifting the largest number of people out of rural poverty in the history of the world. And the creation of a middle class where none existed. It could certainly be better when compared to western standards, but for most of those working there it's a vast improvement on the alternative. It's just that when these people died young without access to clean water in the countryside we never heard about it, until they started making our shoes..

Had the rural poor in China been denied this opportunity I'd argue the net amount of suffering in the world you've would have been higher. It's never as simple as talking points.
« Last Edit: August 20, 2016, 07:11:37 AM by Scandium »

human

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Re: Socially responsible investing. What do you recommend?
« Reply #13 on: August 20, 2016, 11:39:46 AM »
You are right it isn't as easy as talking points, in a poverty stricken rural setting they most likely used less power and resources. As their standard of living rises they use more resources and energy, just wait until their standard of living gets to European levels. I of course hope their standard of living improves, but when India and China do catch up it will be game over . . .

chasesfish

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Re: Socially responsible investing. What do you recommend?
« Reply #14 on: August 21, 2016, 11:41:48 AM »
VICEX

Get potentially higher returns for not being socially responsible