My Move to Socially Responsible Investments

panoramic view from a mountain in southern New Zealand
What we’re trying to protect

Methodology

My overall plan was to look at what options there were for SRI mutual funds and ETFs in the brokerages where I had my money currently invested. I looked for products that matched as closely as possibly my current investments which are 5 main categories:

  • US Total Market Index Funds
  • International Total Market Index Funds
  • US Bond Index Funds
  • Inflation Protected Bond Index Funds
  • Real Estate Index Funds

Fidelity Netbenefits Employer 401k Plan

My former employer’s 401k plan with Fidelity Netbenefits that I still have some money in ended up having a social index fund:

  • VFTNX — Vanguard FTSE Social Index Fund

Fidelity Brokeragelink 401k Account

A majority of my retirement 401k savings are in a Fidelity “brokeragelink” account, which is a program offered by my former employer where I was able to move my 401k savings from the basic Netbenefits account which only had maybe 30 fund options to a full featured Fidelty brokerage account. Where I have a choice of 1000's of Mutuals Funds, ETFs, and Stocks.

screen shot of Fidelity’s mutual fund search tool and the option to filter by socially responsible funds
Searching for socially responsible, no transaction fee mutual funds on fidelity
Table of results of socially responsible mutual funds sorted by expense ratio
Lowest expense ratio results for SRI mutual funds

US Total Market Index Funds

Previous fund:

  • FSKAX — Fidelity Total Market Index Fund
  • FITLX — Fidelity U.S. Sustainability Index Fund
  • CSXAX — Calvert US Large Cap Core Responsible Index Fund Class A
  • CMJAX — Calvert US Mid Cap Core Responsible Index Fund Class A

International Total Market Index Funds

Previous fund:

  • FSPSX — Fidelity International Index Fund
  • FNIDX — Fidelity® International Sustainability Index Fund
  • CDHAX —Calvert International Responsible Index Fund Class A

US Bond Index Funds

Previous fund:

  • FXNAX —Fidelity® U.S. Bond Index Fund
  • FNDSX —Fidelity® Sustainability Bond Index Fund

Inflation Protected Bond Index Funds

Previous fund:

  • FXNAX — Fidelity® Inflation-Protected Bond Index Fund

Real Estate Index Fund

Previous fund:

  • FSRNX —Fidelity® Real Estate Index Fund

Other Funds

These I chose out of interest in diversifying some from my initial basic portfolio

  • FSLEX — Fidelity® Select Environment and Alternative Energy Portfolio
  • DSI — ISHARES FTSE KLD 400 SOCIAL INDEX FUND
  • CRBN ISHARES MSCI ACWI LOW CARBON TARGET ETF

Schwab Personal Brokerage Account

This is where I direct any of my additional savings from income that I have not put away as an emergency fund or for another reason. I have a mix of lower risk retirement accounts and more risky securities based “fun” account. The “fun” portion of this account makes up less than 2% of my total investments.

Schwabs’ Find Funds with the Predefined Screen of Socially Responsible Mutual Funds selected
Schwabs’ Find Funds with the Predefined Screen of Socially Responsible Mutual Funds selected

SRI Mutual Funds

  • TICRX — TIAA-CREF Social Choice Equity Fund (Retail)
  • TSBRX — TIAA-CREF Core Impact Bond Fund (Retail)

SRI ETFs

  • ICLN — iShares Global Clean Energy ETF

Stocks

  • AMRC — Ameresco Inc
  • BYND — Beyond Meat Inc
  • CSIQ — Canadian Solar Inc
  • SGBSY — Schneider Electric SE
  • TILE — Interface Inc
  • VWDRY — Vestas Wind Systems A/S

Conclusion

There are a lot of options out there for the American investor looking to make the switch to Socially Responsible Investments. Many brokerages make it easy with predetermined filters in their search tools. Note that in my experience the biggest downside is that the SRI funds have higher expense ratios than their non-SRI counterparts. For example Fidelity’s FSPSX — International Index Fund has a 0.035% expense ratio, where their FNIDX — Fidelity® International Sustainability Index Fund has an expense ratio of 0.2%. This increase is worth it for my personal goals of Socially Responsible Investment, but they may not be right for everyone.

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Nikolas Osvalds

Nikolas Osvalds

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I’m passionate about doing good, giving back, and helping to tackle the climate crisis with my working life, ideally with code.