Recently the University of Arizona’s Eller Business School held their annual Executive Ethics Symposium hosting a panel of some of the nation’s top experts on the topic of “Socially Responsible Investing.”
Although the vast topic of responsible investing was condensed into a couple of hours of lightning quick education and an even quicker Q and A, the perspectives presented were poignant if not diligent in details that pertained to making decisions on an investment option that has recently grown by more than 22% to 3.74 trillion in total managed assets.
The panelists included Steven D. Lyndenberg, a partner and strategic visionary of Domini Social Investments, a firm committed to expelling the main investing vices including tobacco, alcohol, gaming and defense. Lydenberg focused on negative screening to maximize responsible and socially conscious investing, something the firm believes is “necessary for a sustainable future for all.”
On the “opposing” side of the discussion panel was Dan Ahrens, Managing Director and Chief Operating Officer of AdvisorShares Investments, LLC. Although Ahrens fundamental philosophy dictated that “one invests to make a profit,” he too believed in socially and environmentally responsible investing, however, without excluding the four vices of tobacco, alcohol, gaming and defense. In fact, he stressed that a few of these vices – mainly tobacco was the “single most profitable consumer stock” on the market today. He believed that instead of negative screening (with regards to investing) that it was more productive to positively screen – look for the benefits of investing in a company.
To balance out the somewhat dichotomous discussion, Diamond Professor, Dr. Chris G. Lamoureaux of Eller College of Management (at the University of Arizona) presented an umbrella of historical dialogue leading up to the very notion and today, practice of “responsible investing” – something that was not a topic of discussion or practice until the late 1980s with the anti-apartheid movement rippling across the globe and into investing. He spoke specifically on the topic of “fiduciary obligation” an element that, he believes, is the fundamental deciding factor when it comes to “responsible investing.”
For more information on Eller, Center for Leadership Ethics and new, upcoming events, visit: http://ethics.eller.arizona.edu/about/
For more information on Domini Social Investments, visit: https://www.domini.com/responsible-investing