Ethical Investment is the concept that our dollars can be a reflection of our values as much as our words, thoughts and feelings. There are several aspects to this concept.
An investment is something that you give with the expectation that you will get something in return. Investments can take many forms. We invest our time into efforts that we appreciate. We invest our energy towards doing work that we either enjoy or that we feel will return something to us that we value. In the modern age, the term investment is most often used in discussions about money.
Money is a convienent fiction that we have created as a method of exchange. We get money for providing goods and services, and we trade that money for the goods and services of others. The more value we are able to provide to others for a good or service, the more money they will be willing to pay. And likewise, the more we value something, the more money we are willing to pay for it.
Everyone follows some kind of code of ethics, even if it not formally defined. These codes discuss concepts such as right, wrong, good, evil, and responsibility. The struggle to define what is ethical is defined by different ways of looking at these concepts. It often depends on upbringing, the prevaling culture, or life experiences that change our perceptions and definitions of what is right or wrong, good or evil, and what our responsibilities are in our world.
Ethical Investment is a combination of all of these.
Goals are also importantEdit
If we invest our money, and thus our time and energy, into a particular investment, we need to understand what our goal is for that investment. If the goal is simply to get the highest monetary return on the money that you put in, then the rate of return is the end all and be all of your investment research. However, if we can set additional goals that are at least as important as financial return, the potential for what we can do with our money actually increases, and can often make up for any potential opportunity cost by the way we feel about those investments.
Types of ethical investmentsEdit
The primary method of determining the ethical component in any investment decision is your own set of ethical values. These values contribute by providing questions that you can ask either yourself or the person/enterprise that is asking for your financial investment.
- What is the primary purpose of what you are looking at investing in?
- Do corporations have a responsibility to include ethics in their business decisions?
- Does this investment vehicle follow the same concepts of right and wrong that I do?
- How do I feel about the difference between shareholder responsibility and stakeholder responsibility?
Once we explore the answers to questions like these, we need to make decisions about where our money will be going. This brings up even more questions.
- Do I like the product or service that this company is providing?
- Do I like the business ethics that this company is known for?
- Is it possible to have an influence on the company, and get it to change something I don't like?
This wiki can be used to explore these questions and talk about our answers. We can help each other understand our values, our goals, and track the results of our decisions. Let's work together to make our world a better place.