While it is getting easier for vegans to live their lives according to their ethical beliefs, humane investing in the stock market can still pose a challenge for many. If you currently contribute to a 401K, IRA or own any other kind of investment account, how do you pick the companies and mutual funds that you invest in? Would you invest in a company that owned a factory farm? What about a company that sold fur? If you are vegan, the answer to these questions are easy, but what about for those non-vegans out there?
In 401K accounts, there is often a limited number of investment options, many of which are mutual funds. According to the ICI, about 64% of the funds held in a 401K, were held in mutual funds. IRAs and other investment accounts can offer a wider range of options, but where do you start? There are Certified Financial Planners that specialize in sustainable and responsible investing, such as Brenda Morris, a coordinator of the annual Richmond Vegetarian Festival and an active member of the Vegetarian Society of Richmond. In Brenda’s article, Humane Investing: How to Get Animals Out of Your Portfolio, she talks about this very subject. Below is an excerpt from the article.
If you choose not to eat animal products or are trying to limit your meat consumption for ethical reasons, you owe it to yourself and to the animals to take a look at the holdings in your investment portfolio. Even folks who are die hard carnivores would, all else being equal, most likely choose to eat animals who have been treated humanely versus those who have been abused and exploited. That said, why not extend that philosophy to your 401k and your IRA and only invest in companies that you want to support rather than those that harm, kill, or profit from animals?
While this may sound like a daunting and time-consuming task, investing in mutual funds is something you are most likely doing already. You can begin by examining the Sustainable and Responsible Investments (SRI) that are available to you now through your employer or through the firm that holds your retirement account. You still want your funds to be profitable so that you can continue on a path to financial independence, but now you are viewing the investment universe through the eyes of someone who cares about animals.
Humane Investing in the 21st Century
Incorporating humane investing into our investment strategy is another way to decrease the amount of animal and environmental exploitation that we indirectly support. In the capitalistic society that we currently live in, the mighty dollar is what often leads to change. As vegans and compassionate people, we want our financial decisions to support our ethical beliefs towards animals (human and non-human) and our environment. Humane investing will funnel money away from industries that violate our ethics, further helping our cause and accelerating change.
What are you currently doing to ensure your investment dollars are supporting your beliefs?