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Socially Responsible Investing : Making a Difference and Making Money Paperback – December 19, 2000
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From the Publisher
How to Profit While Youre Making a Difference It sounds like an oxymoron: Can you really make money as a socially responsible investor? The answer is, unquestionably, yes. The way you invest can contribute not only to your bottom line but also to a just and fair society. In Socially Responsible Investing, the movements pioneer and the name behind the Domini 400 Social IndexAmy Dominishows you how. By following Dominis methods for screening companies, youll learn how to:
*Select stocks based on social and ethical considerations.
*Use your power as a shareholder to communicate with companies and convince them to make positive social
changesfrom environmental practices to human rights.
*Invest in your community and make a difference locally. If you had a choice, wouldnt you rather invest your money where you knew it would make a positive difference? Socially responsible investing has helped alleviate suffering, has contributed to a cleaner world, and has constructed a framework within which companies become part of the solutionall while providing market-beating returns. Most investors operate on the concept that investing is an act without real world consequences. Nothing could be further from the truth. By following the strategies and techniques outlined in this important work, you can have it alloutstanding financial returns and a positive contribution to society.
About the Author
Amy L. Domini, founder of Domini Social Investments, is one of the leaders and foremost experts on socially responsible investing, or SRI. Coverage of her or her fund has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, CBSMarketwatch.com, CNBC Talking Stocks, the New York Times, and the Investment Advisor. She has been cited by Barrons as one of the mutual fund industrys 25 most influential people of the century, along with Charles Schwab, Peter Lynch, and Jack Bogle. Smart Money named her one of the 30 Most Influential People in Finance Today, and Time magazine profiled her as an Innovator of Finance. Ms. Domini is truly a visionary on Wall Street.
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Amy Domini is a preacher in her own right with a powerful message of corporate responsibility and human dignity. In 1989, Domini founded KLD Research, along with her ex-husband Peter Kinder and Steve Lydenberg. Domini helped create what was originally called the Domini 400 Social Index. She later founded the money-management firm Domini Social Investments. The firm's Social Equity Fund was the first to publicly post its Shareholder proxy-voting record (in April 1999).
-Corporate Stakeholders (e.g., suppliers, shareholders, employees).
-Investors looking to become more familiar with SRI.
-Corporations wondering how the "other side" views them.
What I liked:
-The Case Study (comparing American Home Products with Johnson & Johnson) was interesting and insightful as it compared what at first appeared to be two similar companies.
-Ms. Domini gives several examples of companies that are socially responsible.
-The book is filled with reference material and Appendices.
-The reader gets a feel of Domini's personality, spirit & spunk.
And not so much...
-The case is made for the outperformance of investments in socially responsible companies. However, I believe the verdict is still out on this. (Though note that the KLD (Domini) 400 has outperformed the S&P500 since its 1990 inception.)
-A small number of recommended foreign companies' shares could not be purchased in the U.S.
-The book should be updated, especially in light of the new corporate charter (called Benefit corporation: see B Labs). Also, the profile of cited companies likely has changed.
-Despite Domini's big following, the book had only one review on Amazon.com.
-SRI's main weakness is cited (you must read the book to discover it !)
-Social Investing actually stimulates Investors to become more actively involved in SRI via their purchasing behavior, voting, etc.
-The book has much more depth than I expected from its cover.
In her book's first page, Domini tells a resonating story about a little girl on the beach trying to save all these Starfish by throwing them back in the water. Her mother said, "Don't bother, dear,.. it won't make a difference." The girl thought for a moment, looking at the Starfish in her hand and said, "It will make a difference to this one."
That little story's a great thought-provoking start to a book which covers:
Why SRI investing matters
A short history of SRI
How Global Finance affects economies
What's special about that story wasn't just that everyone's action (and vote) counts, but that this little girl (Amy?) was already thinking independently and questioning her world. Perhaps we can all do the same by thinking things through.
According to Ms. Domini, global commerce has destroyed the ability of governments to either protect its citizens from harmful business practices such as sweatshops (see below) or to benefit from taxing, since a company can move elsewhere in the world.
In 1996, CBS News' 48 Hours ran a piece detailing the abuse of Nike's workers in Vietnam. Nike became an overnight symbol of what's commonly known as "sweatshops." The company's come a long way since, but stakeholders must remain vigilant on Nike (see our Posting). A more recent expose is Here.
In my opinion, we all have blood on our hands. If we don't ask the hard questions, someone will pay the price. Unfortunately, that someone will likely be an innocent bystander in an Emerging Economy...or You...