Name: Require Use of Socially Responsible Criteria in State Investments
Socially responsible investing is the practice of investing money in companies and funds that have positive social impacts while divesting from companies and industries that are corrupt, environmentally destructive or socially damaging. This type of investing can be a very personal issue, but it can also be a public issue when public funds are the source of investment.
Earlier this year, the Hawaii Senate considered a bill that included animal testing companies in a list of entities that are not considered socially responsible. The recognition that there are ethical concerns with the use of animals as test subjects—and that these concerns should preclude investment in those activities—was encouraging and is an idea that NAVS would like to see replicated around the country.
A model bill that would include companies whose primary focus is animal testing in the list of socially inadvisable investments of state funds is included in the letter to your elected officials below.
Please ask your state legislators to support legislation to consider ethical concerns in their investment decisions with our public funds.
Call to Actions:
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Please consider sponsoring a bill mandating socially responsible investing by state agencies
Dear [Decision Maker],
I am writing to ask you to introduce legislation to integrate socially responsible investing into the decision-making process regarding the investment of endowment, trust or investment funds created by statute or maintained by state agencies or offices. Decisions about the investment of money have the potential to promote or violate standards of social responsibility. Public agencies and government officials, therefore, have a duty to consider the environmental and social impact of their investment of public funds. Adopting clear, socially responsible investment guidelines will help officials make prudent and beneficial choices in furthering the interests of the state and its people.For your convenience, I have included a copy of a model law for socially responsible investing below. Please consider introducing this or a similar bill during the upcoming legislative session.
Model Law for Socially Responsible InvestingSec. 1. PurposeSocially responsible investing is an innovative and effective method of empowering businesses to bring about positive social and environmental change. Socially responsible investing is the practice of investing money in companies and funds that have positive social impacts and divesting from companies and industries that are corrupt, environmentally destructive, or socially damaging. The purpose of this Act is to integrate socially responsible investing into the investment decision-making of endowment, trust or investment funds created by statute or maintained by state agencies or offices, under certain conditions.Sec. 2. Definition"Socially responsible investing" means any investment strategy that seeks to consider the financial return as well as the social and environmental good to bring about positive social change.Sec. 3. Socially responsible investing (a) Notwithstanding any law to the contrary, the appropriate entity or entities with management and oversight or fiduciary responsibility over any state endowment, trust or investment funds established by statute or maintained by state agencies or offices shall invest moneys under their respective jurisdictions using socially responsible investing, as follows: (1) Seek divestiture from fossil fuels, private prisons, factory farms, pesticides, forest clearing, arms and weapons manufacturers and sellers, tobacco, gambling, animal testing companies, companies with histories of labor rights or human rights abuses, companies that deal with oppressive foreign regimes or dictatorships, and companies that exploit cheap or slave-like overseas labor that would violate United States labor laws; (2) Make a concerted effort to invest in public benefit corporations, social enterprises, and other companies that uphold standards of social responsibility; (3) Make a concerted effort to invest in locally owned and locally operated businesses; (4) Provide training for state fund managers to earn chartered socially responsible investment counselor credentials; (5) Appoint a credible environmental, social, and governance ratings agency to monitor the social and environmental sustainability of state funds; and (6) Uphold the fiduciary duty bound by investment goals, provided that such investment of moneys will not compromise the stability of the respective fund and operations of the entity.Sec. 4. This Act shall take effect upon its approval.
Sincerely,[Your Name] [Your Address] [City, State ZIP]