4 apps that help you invest in clean tech, gender equality, and a healthy planet
Becoming an investor has never been easier. These days, it can be as simple as opening up an app or logging into a trading account to start investing, bringing financial services to a whole new generation of on-the-go digital-natives.
The app-ification of investing has been a great boon for consumers, and robo-advisers are one of the most useful tools to hit the market. Robo-advisers are cutting-edge platforms that provide automated, algorithm-driven financial planning services without the need for human supervision. This not only streamlines services, but provides them at lower fees.
The robo-advising phenomenon has facilitated the creation of some very specific investment niches, including, most notably, socially responsible investing (SRI).
SRI – also know as impact investing – is the practice of investing in companies that operate according to certain ethical guidelines, or provide products and services that either follow certain guidelines or address different social issues, such as climate change or pollution reduction.
Companies that create clean energy technology, provide affordable housing, or innovate in the field of human health could all be part of socially responsible investing portfolios, but so could companies that have progressive gender and diversity hiring practices or pay fair wages.
At the same time, SRI portfolios and funds exclude companies that don’t meet set ethical guidelines, such as tobacco and weapons manufacturers.
Robo-advisers with SRI options are exactly what they sound like: automated platforms that allow investors to put their money specifically into companies that make the world a better place. Oftentimes the platforms even allow investors to tweak how much of their investment goes into specific causes or social issues.
As the name indicates, Earthfolio is a robo-adviser that focuses entirely on SRI, and it may be the only robo-advising platform to do so. Far, far ahead of the curve, the company has actually been around since 2000, before impact investing was even a widely-known term.
Companies that are part of the Earthfolio portfolio must meet strict social responsibility criteria, but by no means do they have to be perfect. Earthfolio is looking for companies that “rise above their peers by demonstrating consistent ethical behavior.”
The platform only invests in sustainable funds that screen for 10 Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) criteria, including clean tech, fair labor practices, human rights, corporate governance, and animal welfare.