With the rise in popularity of terms like ESG investing or impact investing, new attention has come to the much more established concept of socially responsible investing. At Prentiss Smith & Company, we have spent decades helping define and defend this trend. Today, we give you the opportunity to invest in accordance with your values, while pursuing your most important financial goals.
Our pursuit of socially responsible investments began in 1982. At that time, apartheid-related divestment was bringing new awareness to the concept of values-based investing. We joined the movement at our founding and, as part of our social investment strategy, did not invest in South Africa. We also excluded weapons producers of all kinds, particularly those connected in any way to nuclear warfare. Soon we avoided major polluters, adding environmental considerations to our research process. Today, our firm has been fossil fuel-free for over 10 years.
Truly socially responsible investing, we believe, is hard work. Beyond labels or marketing gimmicks, we integrate extensive in-house social and environmental research, analyze and vote hundreds of proxies, and engage directly with corporations. At the same time, we pursue the best possible returns for our clients. If our approach to socially responsible investing sounds like a fit, let’s talk.
Our social investments exclude fossil fuels, gun sales, defense or weapons, private prisons, agrochemicals, mining, pornography, gambling and tobacco. Companies dependent on these industries are also excluded.
Using in-house research, we prioritize investments in any given class or industry based on factors like workforce diversity, human rights records and commitments, net zero targets, and more.
Even after a social investment has been approved for inclusion in client portfolios, we often remain engaged in change campaigns with specific companies, targeting social goals, environmental disclosure and more.
Wondering if our values align with yours? While we can customize your portfolio, we find it helps to start from a share understanding. These are some of the issues we prioritize in our approach to socially responsible investment.
We believe that equal pay, inclusive labor practices, diverse leadership and suppliers are all important signs of healthy institutions.
Beyond our fossil fuel exclusions, we look for transparency on greenhouse gas emissions, clear roadmaps for reduction (ideally to net zero), and ambitious renewable energy targets.
Institutions must be responsible for every aspect of their products and by-products. This includes accounting for waste, efficient use of water, and replenishment of natural resources such as land or forests.
Companies are responsible to their employees and shareholders, but also to their customers, their supply chains and communities.
We use ongoing dialogue to press companies for better disclosure and progress on ESG issues.
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