Socially Responsible Investing (SRI) has been around for a very long time. The early Quakers were way ahead of the curve believing that investments should be made in the businesses that serve a beneficial purpose to society. Quakers advocated exclusionary screening. They have always avoided businesses involved in the production or distribution of alcohol, tobacco, and firearms. SRI has evolved over time and now has taken on several different approaches. Today there is a wide range of investment opportunities for investors who want to “do well by doing good.”
ESG or Environmental, Social and Governance investing looks for positive attributes of companies by researching their behavior as it pertains to each factor. Does a company consider the environment when manufacturing a product? Are they aware of the Social impact of their supply chain? Is the board of directors a diverse group or are they tight knit group that benefits themselves? These are just examples of ESG. Many investment firms have incorporated ESG factors into their investment process. Many of these factors have a positive impact on the profitability of the companies and can have a positive impact on earnings as well as potentially mitigating risk.
MSCI KLD 400 SOCIAL INDEX
The Triboro Socially Responsible strategy is benchmarked to the MSCI KLD 400. Launched in May 1990, the MSCI KLD 400 Social Index is one of the first Socially Responsible Investing (SRI) indexes. With the growing mainstream adoption of ESG strategies, many investors seek to hold companies that reflect their values and meet stringent best-in-class criteria for managing their environmental, social and governance (ESG) risks and opportunities.
The MSCI KLD 400 Social Index is designed to provide exposure to companies with high MSCI ESG Ratings while excluding companies whose products may have negative social or environmental impacts. It consists of 400 companies selected from the MSCI USA IMI Index, which includes large-, mid- and small-cap US companies. It aims to select companies with the highest ESG Ratings in each sector and maintain sector weights similar to those of the parent index.
In addition, it excludes companies incompatible with a common set of values screens: alcohol, tobacco, gambling, civilian firearms, military weapons, nuclear power, adult entertainment and genetically modified organisms (GMOs). The Index is widely cited in academic literature on the performance of ESG investments because of its long track record.