Are Socially Responsible Funds Now More Attractive To Americans?

Sixteen-year old Swedish student, Greta Thunberg, spoke at the United Nations Climate Action Summit early last week.

Plenty of people criticized her dramatic delivery. But nobody should downplay the importance of her message. We’re burning too many fossil fuels, cutting down too many trees and polluting rivers, lakes and oceans.

I’ve given investment talks in more than 25 different countries. People often ask about socially responsible (SRI) funds. Such funds include higher exposure to companies with smaller carbon footprints. They often filter companies that manufacture weapons, cigarettes and alcohol. Most SRI funds don’t include stocks connected to pornography or gambling either.

Few Americans, however, ask me about these products. Most of the investors interested in SRI funds are from Europe, New Zealand, Australia and Canada.

Investment products around the world reflect this demand. While SRI funds do exist in the United States, they are far more common in Europe. And that makes sense. After traveling the world for the past six years, I’ve noticed that Europeans appear far more environmentally conscious. While staying with friends in Germany, I learned that they could get fined if they tossed paper, a plastic bag, a can or a bottle into the household trash.

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Andrew Hallam

I’m a financial columnist for Canada’s national paper, The Globe and Mail, as well as for AssetBuilder, a financial service firm based in Texas. I’m also the author of Millionaire Teacher: The Nine Rules of Wealth You Should Have Learned in School (2nd Ed. Wiley 2017) and The Global Expatriate’s Guide To Investing: From Millionaire Teacher to Millionaire Expat (Wiley 2015). My mission is to educate, motivate and inspire people on basic retirement planning and best practices for investing, using evidence-based strategies. I'm happy to comment on your questions. However, please read the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and the Comments Policy.

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