We raise our kids and mold them and shape them in hopes that one day, they grow up to be responsible, ethical adults. Then they get out in the corporate world and find out the adults running businesses act anything but responsibly.
They find out that these large public corporations not only act irresponsibly and unethically but in some cases, criminally.
They’re shocked that corporate budgets set aside funds that somehow end up supporting vices like gambling, alcohol, under-age smoking, etc. The news is replete with daily reports of corporate misdeeds:
- Facebook provided Cambridge Analytica – a data firm used by President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign to target voters – with 87 million users’ personal information without obtaining proper consent.
- In 2015, it was discovered that from the 1980s through the early ’90s, Exxon (now Exxon Mobile) had teams of scientists studying global warming in the Arctic. The scientists concluded that global warming is real and that it posed potential dangers for the company – higher sea levels could damage Exxon’s drilling platforms, processing plants, pump stations, and pipelines. However, company documents reveal that, instead of helping to combat the environmental risk, Exxon decided to launch a multimillion-dollar campaign questioning climate change to bolster company profits.
- Google reportedly paid an executive tens of millions of dollars after he was let go over a sexual misconduct investigation. In July 2018, it was slapped with a hefty $5 billion fine by the EU for using its popular Android software as leverage to get phone manufacturers to pre-install Google apps on their devices.
- In March 2018, a woman in Tempe, Arizona, was killed by a self-driving car operated by Uber. It was the first time a pedestrian had been killed by an autonomous vehicle.
- In October 2015 investment firm Goldman Sachs was fined $50 million for not supervising an employee who allegedly used confidential regulatory information for the benefit of a client.
And when it comes to manufacturing, there isn’t enough print space to delve into the myriad of worker abuses ranging from child labor to horrid working conditions, poor pay and worker suicides that plague the supply chains of some of the largest apparel and consumer electronics retailers in the world including Nike and Apple.
Ironically, it’s the products and apps that some of these tech giants like Apple, Google, and Facebook peddle that have allowed a blaring spotlight to be shone on unethical behavior on their own companies as well as others. And it’s this type of behavior that’s causing a sea change in investor sentiment.
As an investor in public companies that behave badly, it’s becoming harder and harder to turn a blind eye to the negative social impact these companies have on the public, their workers, and their environment. Perhaps because of the age of social media, exposure to the dark side of the shiny products we consume is becoming more frequent and intense resulting in heightened social awareness of the effects our buying and investing decisions have on the rest of the world.
Because investors are starting to care where their money goes, many are now embracing the socially responsible investing movement, because as some companies have demonstrated, it can be quite profitable. Socially responsible investing enables an investor to grow their money while impacting the greater good for society.
Wanting to invest in a socially responsible manner and actually doing it are two different matters. To start, what exactly is socially responsible investing? Socially responsible investing, including its offshoots, ethical and green investing, means avoiding industries that negatively affect the environment and its people. This includes companies that produce or invest in alcohol, tobacco, gambling, and weapons.
Instead, socially responsible investing involves investing in companies engaged in ethical and socially conscious themes, like environmental sustainability and social justice. Socially responsible investing can cover a wide range of industries, activities, and locations, but at its root, socially responsible investing works toward both positive change and financial gain.
Although there are many ways to invest in a socially responsible manner, the key is research and due diligence. Many resources are available on the internet providing a wealth of information about companies you might consider targeting for investment.
Perhaps the most significant opportunities for social investing exist in local markets where investors have their finger on the pulse of local enterprises and where information is more readily verifiable.
In no other industry are opportunities or information more readily available than in the commercial real estate class where it’s easy to identify the exact uses of a particular property and to find investments targeting a social cause.
With proper due diligence and research, it’s these commercial real estate opportunities that provide the best opportunities for providing both income and an investment with a social component.
Visit GSM OPPORTUNITIES today to discover more about investment opportunities with a positive social impact and financial gain.