If you've been thinking more carefully about your investment strategy, or you are looking for a place to invest your money that will make financial sense for you while helping create a healthy environment and more socially responsible economy, you may be interested in "social investing." Domini Social Investments is an established investment firm that may be able to help you reach those goals. The idea behind their investment products and services is to help you make your investment decisions count. As a company, Domini also walks the talk, so to speak, as they have been active participants in community and global issues ranging from petitions to large corporations to working on behalf of social justice issues in countries like Burma. If you would like your financial decisions to create personal wealth and a better world, Domini Social Investments offers the solutions to help you reach your financial goals in alignment with your personal values.
Does it matter if you make big financial gains investing in a company that goes against your personally held beliefs, such as a tobacco manufacturer, or one that creates environmental hazards? It was questions like these from her clients that led then-stockbroker Amy Domini to begin investigating the possibility of creating investment strategies that not only brought financial returns but that clients could feel personally good about. In 1980, she began to research the new school of thought that is known today as “social investing.” By 1984, she had written the book “Ethical Investing,” one of the first books to take an in-depth look at this new financial philosophy, and by 1989, she and partners Peter Kinder and Steve Lydenberg were hard at work developing a benchmark to measure the costs and benefits of social investing.
The benchmark became The Domini 400 Social Index, which was launched in 1990. The first fund to track the new index, the Domini Social Equity Fund, was launched in 1991. Although there were plenty of naysayers among Wall Street analysts at the time, Domini and her partners believed that it only made sense that companies who were socially or environmentally minded could perform as well as other companies that only focused on a profitable bottom line. With the careful monitoring of the Domini Social Index, the risks and benefits of social investing could be measured.
It soon became apparent that social investment strategies could be both profitable and beneficial. According to founder Amy Domini, the success of social investing along with the success of Domini Social Investments rests on the people who choose to invest their money where it will do good for themselves and their world. States Amy, “Investors can have a huge impact. Domini investors have given us the chance to convince companies to do things like audit the factories they buy from to eliminate sweatshops, or to increase purchases of fair trade or sustainably harvested products. Responsible investors have made a world of difference.”
In all fairness, it's not only the Domini investors who have made a positive impact on the world as a whole. As an investment company, Domini has leveraged their reputation and position in order to create real change on a local and on a global level. Their involvement included creating a fund specifically to benefit economically challenged communities, the Domini Social Bond Fund, to meeting with the heads of large corporations such as the Gap, about their factory working conditions, or the pharmaceutical giants, such as Bayer and Merck, about their support of legislators who actively campaigned against birth control products their own companies manufactured. Wielding their power for good right in their own backyard is one thing, but Domini has gone even further with their work to assist political prisoners in Burma or assess the working conditions of the Chinese factories that manufacture Apple products.
No matter what your personal financial goals are, Domini Social Investments has an investment product that can help you build a personalized portfolio that reflects your objectives and personal values. The Domini Social Equity Fund, the first that was launched by Domini in 1991, and the comparable International Social Equity Fund allow investors to place their funds in domestic or international stocks that meet set social and environmental standards. Domini also offers a Deposit Account at PNC Bank for IRA, Roth IRA, CESA and UGMA or UTMA accounts. At Domini, investors can invest in every major asset class, including stocks, bonds, and cash, through an active management system that combines Domini's social and environmental standards with Wellington Management's stock selection.
Making positive changes in the world is something that each of us can do, and it is this foundation that Domini Social Investments has built their company on. It may not seem like choosing not to invest your money in a multi-national corporation who makes questionable ethical decisions would really change things. However, Domini's starfish logo has an important message for investors wondering if their investments can really bring about the kind of change that is needed, a message reflected in "The Starfish Story," told by founder Amy Domini on several occasions. Throwing back one starfish makes a difference in that starfish's life, and having complete personal control over your investments can make a difference in your life...and in the world.