Screened funds are turning out to be some of the best funds.
For example, the Pax World Balanced Fund was honored by
MutualsAdvisor.com as one of their “Top Ten Mutual Funds for
2008.” Similarly, the Winslow Green Growth Fund was ranked by
Lipper, an independent monitor of fund performance, as the
number one small cap growth mutual fund for the three-year
period ending July 31, 2007.
And no wonder. The screening process Winslow Management
Company undertakes is one of the reasons their returns have
been so high over the years.
influence that governance practices
can have on company performance.
“R“Retirement plans are one of the key benefits
most important to attract and keep quality
According to the company, the environmental and governance profiles of each company in which they invest are
reviewed in tandem with research of the company’s financials.
They begin with all publicly available information on a company,
including information reported to governmental agencies such
as the Environmental Protection Agency and Securities and
Exchange Commission. They also use third party research
providers such as KLD Research & Analytics, Inc. and
Institutional Shareholder Services. Next, they consider a company’s industry to determine what environmental or governance
challenges are facing that industry. Senior management of a
company are interviewed to judge their understanding of these
types of issues.
Findings are compiled into research reports for portfolio
managers to use in the final decision-making process. Winslow
states that they have expanded their research to review a company’s corporate governance profile, because they recognize the
Want to Have Your Publicly Owned Organic Company
Included in a Mutual Fund?
For publicly owned organic companies wishing to be included in a mutual fund,
Portfolio 21 investments chairman Carsten Henningsen states, “Our investment teamis
constantly researchingopportunities in target areas, such as the organic food sector, and
selects the companies that meet our strict criteria detailed on our website.”
Similarly, Ethan Berkwits, director of marketing for the Winslow Green Mutual Funds
states, “Our investment team generally conducts its own market research and doesn’t
accept unsolicited proposals. The best way to get on our radar would likely be to raise
the overall visibility of your company and its progressive products.”
So be sure your website and other promotional materials include pithy information
about your organic principles and products, the size of your company, and the extent of
its presence in the consumer marketplace, then network, network, network! The
October 26-29 SRI in the Rockies event in British Columbia may be a good place to
start! ( www.sriintherockies.com)
The Socially Responsible
Investment Industry Is Growing,
But What About Retirement
With investors’ increasing interest
in putting their money where their
morals are, new screened mutual
funds are being announced about as
frequently as weeds sprouting in a
spring field. One estimate says that
over the last two years, an average of
one new socially responsible fund is
launched every two weeks.
According to a March 2008 report
released by the Social Investment
Forum (SIF), the national membership association for the social investment industry—SRI assets increased
more than 18 percent to $2.71 trillion
from 2005 to 2007, while the broader
universe of professionally managed
assets grew less than 3 percent. As a
result, about 11 percent of assets
under professional management in
the U.S. are now involved in SRI.
Indeed, roughly 11 percent of
assets under professional management
in the U.S.—or nearly one of every
nine dollars—are now involved in SRI.
When it comes to mutual funds, there
are 173 funds available in 358 different share classes, notes the report.
According to SIF, the increase in
SRI investments was spurred by such
factors as rising institutional investor
interest, growing demand for renewable energy alternatives, concerns
about the Sudan humanitarian crisis
and the emergence of new products.
However, while the figures showing
skyrocketing growth in SRI mutual
funds for general investing are impressive, few of such funds have been
incorporated into retirement plans,
thus limiting the potential political
power of the $2.5 trillion that more
than 50 million people have invested
in retirement funds. Even the most
progressive companies usually only