Book List: Socially Responsible Investing

Socially Responsible Investing: Making a Difference and Making Money – Amy Domini (Dearborn Trade/Kaplan Business, 2001)

This easy to read book, written for the lay reader, is considered the classic introduction to SRI. Author Amy Domini is one of the leaders in the development of the SRI field, and founder of Domini Social Investments. Domini shares the underlying philosophy and history of socially responsible investing, and guides the reader through screening investments, direct dialogue, community economic development, and global finance. Copious examples illustrate the concepts well, though some may now be outdated.

Investing with Your Values: Making Money and Making a Difference– Hal Brill, Jack A. Brill, Cliff Feigenbaum; foreword by Amy Domini (Bloomberg Press, 1999)

This is a practical and comprehensive guide for investors interested in socially conscious investing. The authors, using a concept of “Natural Investing,” cover the basics of SRI, guide the reader through investment planning and types of investment options, and pose many questions about sustainability. Some information, listings and resources may be out of date, but this is a good tool for individual and congregational investors to use in matching values to your investments.

  • Authors’ article about the book at Grist
  • Review at SocialFunds.com
  • Article by Hal Brill, “Resilient Investing: SRI’s Evolutionary path through Precarious Times” at Green Money Journal (2012)
  • Article with Hal Brill on “SRI and Unhealthy Relationships with Money” at Journal of Financial Planning (2008)

The SRI Advantage: Why Socially Responsible Investing has Outperformed Financially – Peter Camejo (New Society Publishers, 2002)

The author, along with twelve collaborators, documents how SRI has outperformed financially, based on studies over 30 years, and explains why SRI has the advantage. Chapter topics include pension funds and fiduciary responsibility, SRI for the individual investor, energy, foundations and mission-related investing, and community investing strategies. Peter Camejo, now deceased, was the founder and chair of the SRI firm Progressive Asset Management and creator of the first environmentally screened fund for a major Wall Street firm.

  • Review at SocialFunds.com (2002)

Sustainable Investing: The Art of Long Term Performance – Cary Krosinsky and Nick Robins, editors (Earthscan, 2008)

The editors have assembled a collection of writings from twenty authors about sustainability-driven investing. Of note are the chapters devoted to carbon finance, carbon exposure, clean energy, water, responsible property investing, fiduciary duty, and social business.

  • Article about co-editor Cary Krosinsky’s white paper questioning the real financial impact of sustainable investment at SocialFunds.com (2013)
  • Article co-authored by Cary Krosinsky about fossil fuel divestment and sustainable investment at SustainableBrands.com

Investing in a Sustainable World: Why Green is the New Color of Money on Wall Street – Matthew J. Kiernan, Ph.D. (Amacom, 2009)

The author discusses the importance of environmental and social criteria in long-term investments decision-making. The author posits a new postmodern, sustainable portfolio theory and looks at these major sustainability challenges: population growth, climate change and energy, water scarcity and quality, soil degradation, deforestation, biodiversity loss, waste and waste management, poverty, and human rights.

  • Review and summary in Journal of Financial Planning and Counseling
  • Interview with author on impact investing at Sustainable Business Oregon (2011)

Local Dollars, Local Sense: How to Shift Your Money from WALL STREET to MAIN STREET and Achieve Real Prosperity – Michael Shuman, with foreword by Peter Buffett (Chelsea Green Publishing, 2012)

The author critiques mainstream American financial institutions and investment approaches, and proposes a shift of focus towards creating and sustaining local living economies. Topics include the positive case for investing in local business, the power of cooperatives, institutional lending, anti-poverty investing and community development, and local exchanges. This book is one of the Post Carbon Institute and Chelsea Green Publishing’s Community Resilience Guides.

  • Review at Kirkus Reviews
  • Q&A with author at American Booksellers Assn.
  • Review at Transition USA
  • Video of presentation by author (57 minutes, 2012)
  • TEDxUVM talk about local stock exchanges (16 minutes, 2010)

Locavesting: The Revolution in Local Investing and How to Profit From It – Amy Cortese (John Wiley & Sons, 2011)

The author shares an overview of the local investing movement, challenges and opportunities. Chapters end with a “GamePlan for Locavestors” that summarizes the pros and cons and suggests mostly internet-based resources for more information. Chapter topics include community development loan funds, local stock exchange, public venture capital, and Slow Money and financing for foodsheds.

Impact Investing: Transforming How We Make Money While Making a Difference – Antony Bugg-Levine and Jed Emerson (Jossey-Bass, 2011)

Authors give an overview of the evolution of investing for impact, and discuss the challenges and opportunities in investing for financial, social and environmental performance. Topics covered include microfinance, social enterprises, investing and philanthropy, capital markets and pools, and regulations, policy and tools needed going forward. (Authors do not discuss impact investing in the context of community development and low-income housing markets in the US.)

  • Review at Stanford Social Innovation Review (2012)
  • Video of presentation by authors at the Aspen Institute (2011)
  • Conversation with co-author Antony Bugg-Levine and Root Capital founder, Willy Foote, about impact investing headwinds at Forbes (2013)
  • Q&A with co-author Antony Bugg-Levine at Faith & Leadership (2012)
  • Q&A with co-author Jed Emerson about environmental entrepreneurship at World Resources Institute (2012)
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