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Socially responsible investing

The amount of money poured into Wall Street each year has a great impact on society. 

Social innovation, Inc. : 5 strategies for driving business growth through social change
Jason Saul.
San Francisco : Jossey-Bass, c2011.

Could Wal-Mart offer a better solution to healthcare than Medicaid? Could GE help reduce global warming faster than the Kyoto protocol?

Social Innovation, Inc. declares a new era where companies profit from social change. Leading corporations like GE, Wellpoint, Travelers and Wal-Mart are transforming social responsibility into social innovation and revolutionizing the way we think about the role of business in society. Based on four years of measuring the social strategies of America's leading corporations, Jason Saul lays out the five strategies for social innovation and offers a practical roadmap for how to get started.

  • Explains the fundamental shift in the role of business in society, from social contract to social capital market
  • Identifies the 5 social innovation strategies: submarket products and services, social points of entry, pipeline talent, reverse lobbying, and emotive customer bonding
  • Offers step-by-step guidance for creating economic value through positive social change

Social Innovation, Inc. is about making social change work for the business, and in turn staying relevant in the new economy.

     
The better world shopping guide : every dollar makes a difference
Ellis Jones.
Gabriola Island, B.C. : New Society Publishers, c2010.
The only comprehensive guide available for socially and environmentally responsible consumers contains over 15 years of comprehensive research distilled into a pocket-sized, shopping-friendly format.
     
The dragonfly effect : quick, effective, and powerful ways to use social media to drive social change
Jennifer Aaker, Andy Smith ; with Carlye Adler.
San Francisco : Jossey-Bass, c2010.
Proven strategies for harnessing the power of social media to drive social change Many books teach the mechanics of using Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube to compete in business. But no book addresses how to harness the incredible power of social media to make a difference. The Dragonfly Effect shows you how to tap social media and consumer psychological insights to achieve a single, concrete goal. Named for the only insect that is able to move in any direction when its four wings are working in concert, this book Reveals the four "wings" of the Dragonfly Effect-and how they work together to produce colossal results Features original case studies of global organizations like the Gap, Starbucks, Kiva, Nike, eBay, Facebook; and start-ups like Groupon and COOKPAD, showing how they achieve social good and customer loyalty Leverage the power of design thinking and psychological research with practical strategies Reveals how everyday people achieve unprecedented results-whether finding an almost impossible bone marrow match for a friend, raising millions for cancer research, or electing the current president of the United States The Dragonfly Effect shows that you don't need money or power to inspire seismic change.
     
Big business, big responsibilities : from villains to visionaries : how companies are tackling the world's greatest challenges
Andy Wales, Matthew Gorman, Dunstan Hope.
Houndmills ; New York : Palgrave Macmillan, 2010.
Big business is often seen as the villainnbsp;in terms ofnbsp;the environment or social wellbeing. But some leading businessesnbsp;are becomingnbsp;leaders in the fight against climate change andnbsp;protectors of human rights. This book explains why this is now a core part of strategy andnbsp;not just philanthropy for these businesses.
     
The responsibility revolution : how the next generation of businesses will win
Jeffrey Hollender, Bill Breen.
San Francisco : Jossey-Bass, c2010.
How to create a company that not only sustains, but surpasses-that moves beyond the imperative to be "less bad" and embrace an ethos to be "all good"From the Inspired Protagonist and Chairman of Seventh Generation, the country's leading brand of household products and a pioneering "good company," comes a one-of-a-kind book for leaders, entrepreneurs, and change agents everywhere. The Responsibility Revolution reveals the smartest ways for companies to build a better future-and hold themselves accountable for the results. Thousands of companies have pledged to act responsibly; very few have proven that they know how. This book will guide them. The Responsibility Revolution presents fresh ideas and actionable strategies to commit your company to a genuine socially and environmentally responsible business and culture, one that not only competes but wins on values. Points the way for innovators and influencers to generate trust by becoming transparent, elicit people's passion and creativity, turn customers into collaborators, transform critics into allies, rewrite the rules and reinvent business Shows how to build a socially and environmentally responsible yet genuinely good company and an authentic brand Drawing on groundbreaking interviews with real-world change leaders, Hollender and Breen present lessons and insights from the "good company"' parts of big companies like IBM and eBay, trailblazers like Patagonia and Timberland, and emerging dynamos like Linden Lab and EtsyThe Responsibility Revolution equips people with the tactics, models, and mind-sets they need to compete in a world where consumers now demand that companies contribute to the greater good.
     

"The people that move the money move society.  We need to take responsibility for that impact."

--Amy Domini

Socially Responsible Investing, commonly called SRI, allows investors to make socially conscious decisions regarding how they invest their money. 

By supporting companies that are mindful of ethics and environment, SRI investors endeavor to bring about a world that in their eyes is more just and economically sustainable.

SRI dates back to the 18th century when religious groups stopped investing money in companies that supported the tobacco, alcohol and gambling industries.  SRI later gained popularity during the Vietnam War as some investors chose to exclude from their portfolios companies that supported the U.S. military.  In the 1970's, SRI investors excluded companies that supported the apartheid regime in South Africa. 

Although thought by some analysts to be a fad, the amount of money invested in socially conscious funds has consistently grown, doubling between 1995 and 1997.  Some of the issues today that determine companies' qualifications for SRI status are the military industries, human rights practices, labor issues and environmental issues.

SRI - three key strategies

Screening - Selecting companies based on social criteria

Buying the good - Investing in companies with established social agendas

Shareholder advocacy - Becoming a shareholder to influence corporate decisions

With any investment, one has to consider the return.  Studies have shown that SRI competes with and may outperform regular investing.  SRI screening reduces risk and liability specific to individual companies and also helps to seek out companies with effective financial and management strategies, ensuring high returns on investments. 

As SRI gains in popularity, more firms offer SRI options, making it easier for investors to support socially responsible industries.  With a simple savings account, or a highly diversified investment portfolio, SRI can enable investments to have a positive effect on the community and on the environment.

Article by: St. Louis Public Library staff