Do you have questions about being vegan? Send them
to Jo using this easy form.
She would be happy to address your individual concerns
as well as general inquiries about vegan ethics, philosophy,
practical applications, and living compassionately.
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answer questions that have already been addressed in
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be possible. If a reply is forthcoming, it could take
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I am trying to be responsible and educate
myself about how to establish financial stability for
myself and my husband while we are still young. I know
that the best way to put aside long-term savings for
retirement is through the stock market. But none of
the material I read about the best ways to invest in
the stock market addresses the issue I face -- I want
to avoid investing in companies that exploit animals.
I know I could put a lot of hours into investigating
individual companies, finding out their ethical as well
as financial profiles, but I don't have a lot of faith
in myself as a stock picker. I know mutual funds are
the way to go for people who want to make sure their
portfolios are diversified without doing a ton of research,
but then you have no control over the companies in which
you invest. Are there any brokers or mutual funds out
there that specialize in addressing the concerns of
vegans? Do their funds do reasonably well? Are my husband
and I better off just stashing our money in the mattress?
How and where we invest our money can
have a significant impact on social change in addition
to affecting our personal finances. "Socially responsible
investing" (SRI) is the catch-all phrase for integrating
one's values and societal concerns with investment decisions.
The notion of SRI grew out of the interests of religious
institutions that wanted to screen out investments in
alcohol and tobacco. The concept evolved in the 1960s
and 70s when issues about war, nuclear weapons, nuclear
power, civil rights, and women's rights raised awareness
among investors. Objections to Apartheid in South Africa
in the 1980s further solidified support among institutional
and private investors. In the 1990s, environmental considerations
attracted attention, stimulating investments in "green"
companies. Today's top concerns are the environment,
social justice, fair and nondiscriminatory labor practices,
health, and animal welfare.
Financial advisors who specialize in
socially responsible investing are scattered throughout
the United States. They are accomplished in and well-versed
about this ever-changing field and are best equipped
to help you determine the wisest options for your particular
needs. As with any financial decision, it is invariably
prudent to discuss your needs with an experienced and
knowledgeable professional you can trust.
In the past twenty years, socially responsible
mutual funds have expanded tenfold. Many of these types
of investments do quite well, but, as with any financial
venture, there is always an element of risk. You and
your husband will need to ask for and study the prospectus
of each company, fund, or product to determine its suitability
in light of your values. You will also want to discuss
its history, stability, and potential return on your
investment with your financial advisor.
Co-op America is a national nonprofit
organization that helps educate Americans about shaping
a better future through their purchasing and investing
choices. Their approach is designed to do the following:
- Educate people how to use their spending
and investing power to bring the values of social
justice and environmental responsibility into the
- Help socially and environmentally
responsible businesses emerge and thrive.
- Divert capital away from destructive
- Pressure irresponsible companies
to adopt socially and environmentally responsible
America maintains an extensive list of socially
responsible investment practitioners both on-line and
in their annual publication called the "National
Green Pages." You can contact Co-op America at 1612
K St. NW, #600, Washington, DC 20006, (202) 872-5307.
They also have an on-line investment guide that can
be accessed directly at http://www.socialinvest.org/areas/sriguide/default.htm
or you can e-mail them regarding socially responsible
investing at email@example.com.
Individual and business memberships to Co-op America
include a free copy of the "National Green Pages."
Before seeking socially responsible
investment practitioners, products, or services from
organizations primarily devoted to SRI, be sure to ask
about the ownership and commitment of the parent company
or affiliated organization. In some cases, they may
not have socially responsible investing as a priority.
Also, some SRI products may not be vegan-friendly, even
though they may be advancing positive change in other
The influence of responsible investing
is evident locally and globally, directly and indirectly.
Your humane investment strategies will help encourage
companies to take account of the social and environmental
costs of doing business and foster an economy that works
for the planet and all its inhabitants.
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