More investors are putting their money where their beliefs are

///More investors are putting their money where their beliefs are

More investors are putting their money where their beliefs are

It used to be fairly simple to pick companies considered socially responsible investments. All an investor had to do was avoid business associated with alcohol, tobacco, weapons and gambling. That approach to ethical investing would greenlight just about any company involved in health care or technology with little or no regard for how the company conducted business, treated employees or dealt with the environment.

“Today, responsible investing takes a more sophisticated approach,” said Jonathan Bernstein, a senior research analyst at the Downtown-based Hefren-Tillotson wealth management firm. “It says every company is different. There are good and not so good companies within each industry.” Now investors look at each one individually and ask questions, Mr. Bernstein said. “How do they treat their employees? Are they transparent or ethical in the way their board is running? Are they diverse on their boards?”

The Global Sustainable Investment Alliance reports that more than $22 trillion of assets in 2016 were managed under ethical investment strategies globally, up 25 percent from two years before — a strong indicator that socially responsible investing is moving into the mainstream. Responsible investing goes by several names, such as socially responsible investing, ethical investing, sustainable investing and green investing.

While individual stock investors can do a lot of their own research, they may find it easier to invest through exchange-traded funds or mutual funds focused on socially responsible companies.Then it’s a matter of deciding what issues they care most about.

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