Investing What God Provides
A stream in the Black Hills of South Dakota, working to cleanse itself of the mining runoff that threatens the beauty of God’s Creation.
Photo courtesy of Thomas Haupert
A year ago in this space we discussed the influence each individual wields by their consumption patterns and choices. You can read that entry by clicking here. A significant portion of our consumer influence is how we choose to invest our retirement and savings. Over a lifetime, this resource can become quite significant and how you are invested can have important effects on God’s planet and the rest of his Creation.
Socially responsible investment (SRI) is an approach to investment with the guiding principle that one can use their wealth to improve some situation or problem in the world. This is not a new idea. John Wesley did a sermon entitled “The Use of Money” on this idea at the time Salem was being founded. In sum, he advocated that God would be glorified if we do not harm our neighbor through our business practices and that we avoid activities which could harm workers (tanning and chemical production in his day). SRI is an investment strategy that considers environmental, social and corporate governance criteria to generate long-term competitive financial returns and positive societal impact. These funds compete well against the returns of more traditional investments which do not apply any restrictions to their investing decisions. SRI will, for example, apply filters to select investments that screen out activities deemed harmful, e.g. addictive substances, gambling, pornography, weapons, etc… Impact Investing (II) is a nuanced approach to SRI which employs investment decisions that seek to create a quantifiable social or environmental outcome as well as a competitive financial return. These investment options are simply ways to use the gifts that God has provided in a way that glorifies his Creation. According to an industry report (http://www.ussif.org/trends), about $6.5 trillion, one out of every six dollars under professional management in the United States, is invested under SRI or II strategies. That means over 80% of those $6.5 trillion investment dollars could perhaps be more intentionally invested in a way that supports those corporations and activities which seek the greater good of God’s Creation while providing a competitive return.
Here are some resources to begin forming your ideas and beliefs on this topic as we all strive to enter into the joy of our Master.
From the New York Times: "Assessing Impact Investing and Borrowing in Old Age"
From Millionaire Corner: "What Investors Think About Socially Responsible Investing".
From The Guardian: "Fossil Free Funds Outperformed Conventional Ones"
From the Journal of Lutheran Ethics, "Faith and Finance: A solo journey into solidarity".
From Forbes: "Becoming Popular and Making Money"
And he who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, “Master, you delivered to me five talents; here I have made five talents more.”. His master said to him, “Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.”
Offered by the Earth Stewards Team