Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Green Investing

This is part of my series20 Ways to Go Green that Make a DifferenceThis series discusses practical ways we can go green in our lives, that will have a measurable effect on the environment.  This is an alternative to the many lists that offer 100+ suggestions, many of which are not easily applied to our lives or the impact is minimal.

Today's topic is something many of you have probably not considered in the course of your green education.  That topic is green investing.  You may have a 401k for an employer, an IRA from your parents, or an account at a brokerage.  Your investments make a difference.  Just like every dollar you spend, every dollar you invest is a vote of support for that company.

There are many ways to invest greenly.  You could invest directly into an alternative energy company, but that opens you up to the risks of not being diversified.  To counter that you could consider a green mutual fund like Gabelli's SRI Green Fund.  This fund invests in socially conscious firms and you benefit from having professionals in the investment world managing the day to day of your money for a marginal fee.

iThere are a number of organic and natural foods companies you may want to consider directly investing in.  These include Whole Foods Market, the organic grocer, or Lifeway foods, makers of Kefir and other healthy foods.  It is also as important what you do NOT invest in as what you do actually make an investment in.  Things to avoid are industrial farmers, makers of GMO altered foods or seeds.  I am not going to list their info here, as I do not want it to be misconstrued as support, but do your research and make sure not to invest in companies or in funds with holdings in these types of corporations.

A final option you may want to consider is a micro-loan.  This is a direct loan to an individual, often in a poor country, for them to make a business.  Kiva is the largest marketplace for this type of a loan.  Although many do pay back their loans, I would not consider this a viable investment strategy and should be considered more as entertainment or charity.  I have heard success stories and it is an option you may want to consider.


As always, it is important to think about what you are doing and to act intentionally.  Although all investors are in search of the "green," not all of them care about being green on the way to profits.  You can make a difference by both NOT supporting the offenders and by supporting the green energy firms who are creating new products and services to make our planet better!

Disclaimer: Although I do work in the investments field, I am not a registered investment advisor.  These are solely my opinions and should not be taken as investment recommendations.

1 comment:

  1. Your point definitely hits the bull's eye! Our decision on what to invest in today will have a significant impact on our tomorrow. We can think of it as taking a step towards the future of this planet. That's why every decision matters! Actually, I see every investment-related move as similar to moves in chess, where there's no turning back. Think and move wisely! :)