We all receive the flyers advertising classes at local community colleges and universities, right? Well, I was leafing through the UW Experimental College brochure, and saw an inexpensive one-day introductory class covering socially responsible investing that sounded interesting. So, I signed myself up and enjoyed the quick 3-hour intro. Before attending, I had read a little bit about the topic, and was hoping that the day would be more than just a sales pitch for the two instructors 🙂
It turned out to be quite informative. They didn’t do any selling, which was extremely good… instead, they just talked through the history of SRI — they first discussed the first level of SRI, which is generally the negative screens that many funds put in place (i.e. we won’t invest in companies related to sin elements like alcohol, tobacco or gambling), but then extended the discussion to talk about the advocacy efforts that many SRI funds employe (i.e. using their purchasing/investing power to help shape company policies… examples being getting companies to change their board compositions, to end harmful environmental practices…) and then broadened the discussion even more to talk about local practices you can undertake to get more involved (i.e. investing in community banks that make loans to historically underrepresented groups).
All in all, it was a very interesting day — if you’d like to learn more, either sign up for the class yourself, or contact one of the two instructors, Eric Smith or Justin Harris.