Part of the fun, the emotional reward of impact investing is supporting changes we want to see in the world. Part is choosing the solutions we believe will work. A good first step in considering where to impact invest, according to a New York Times article this week, is deciding what you care about enough to invest your very own cash.
First you might think about things you really care about, NYT columnist Ron Lieber says, perhaps by completing the “financial values worksheet” and “social policy questionnaire” available on the Horizons Sustainable Financial Services website. (See the NYT article for link.)
Then you might think about things you really oppose, and look for screens that allow for “social-issue exclusion,” which means not investing in items like alcohol, weapons or countries that do business with political regimes responsible for genocide.
There’s the question of whether to “shun” a company or industry entirely, or “screen” particular players to see if the up sides outweigh the down. You might decide never to invest in an oil company (“shunning”), for example, or you might decide to carefully choose a tech company to invest in, because you decide its mission is more important than the fact that it’s an electricity hog (“screening”).
Once you pick your issues, companies and/or industries, and criteria, you also need to evaluate the funds available for investing. ESG (environmental, social and governance) funds are wide-ranging. See the full NYT article for a description of options and links to some excellent resources.