Image by Elena Rouame

5 Free Tools to Review How Sustainable Your Investments Are

Today you're going to learn how you can screen your investments for various ESG & sustainability data. 

We'll talk about 5 helpful tools, show you how to use them and tell you their pros and cons.

 

Invest Your Values

Invest Your Values actually has 7 different tools. They are all interconnected so we'll just start with the first one.

 

Fossil Free Funds

You can use this tool to either 

  • Research a specific fund (enter ticker in search bar)

  • Research for top scoring funds 

Once you enter a ticker, or research a specific fund you'll get a Fossil Free Grade. 

More importantly, if you scroll down you'll get As You Sow's scoring metrics for all 7 of their various screens. 

You can then search more details of any of the 7 measurement criteria. 

  • Most comprehensive

  • Funds are scored on a number of different sustainable criteria

  • You also have access to standard investment profile information 

Pros 

Cons

  • Does not encompass all sustainable investments 

  • Seems to lack bond funds

 

MSCI

MSCI is more geared towards E, S & G ratings. If you want to understand this further, check out this article

Where Invest Your Values allows you to search a list of top scoring funds, MSCI is strictly for researching funds you already know.  

You start by entering a ticker in the search bar.  

Similar to Invest Your Values, you'll see a grade. Although MSCI's grades are more like investment grade ratings, CCC through AAA.

High level rankings, you can see how the fund ranks compared to it's peers (US Equity and 94% in this case) as well as how well the fund ranks compared to all ESG funds. 

You'll also be able to see how the funds individual stocks rate for their ESG scores. It easily breaks down what percentage of the stocks are ESG Laggards, average or Leaders. 

If you scroll further down the page you can see other measurements such as Green vs. Brown revenue, corporate governance, carbon intensity and if the fund has been flagged for various social safeguards.  

  • One of the better tools to review ESG ratings

  • Simple scoring without providing too much information 

  • All data is on one page

Pros 

Cons

  • Tends to be geared towards a slightly more knowledgeable investor

  • Does not provide any of the funds financial measurements such as fees

 

Investigate

Investigate is focused on hidden human rights violations such as:

  • Prison Investments

  • Occupation

  • Border militarization 

If you are looking to search individual companies, Investigate has a comprehensive list under "view all companies". 

Or you can search a mutual fund or ETF that you already own in the "lookup a fund" search bar. 

Once searching, you'll see how many stocks your fund owns in the various human rights categories. 

You can click into any of these columns to bring you to a detailed list of the stocks they have flagged for human rights issues. 

  • The only real tool to review human rights violations specifically

  • Has a thorough list of individual companies and their associated violations

Pros 

Cons

  • Doesn't offer a "top rated" search tool

  • Most beneficial for an individual stock investor

  • The "upload a list of holdings" tool doesn't work

 

USSIF

USSIF , is the Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment.

They have an extremely comprehensive list of Mutual Funds and ETF's screened for a number sustainability metrics.  

There are however two caveats: 

  • Although they say they screen ETF's, none exist on their list. 

  • There is no "lookup" function.  As in, you cannot search for a specific fund ticker, you'll need to do a "Ctrl F" to find it. 

You will find a wealth of information on the mutual funds that are listed however. 

You can see most of the standard Financial Information you'd be looking for. 

You can even click on various sub tabs to view a funds Screening and Advocacy details.  

As well as proxy voting records and policies. 

You can also search funds by asset class. 

The USSIF tool is a wealth of information. Although it can almost be a bit too much.  

Many investors can be deterred by too much information.

 

Simply understanding the difference between A, C & I shares can be difficult for some. Beyond that you must determine if your financial institution even allows you to purchase that share class. 

  • Very robust list of sustainably minded mutual funds

  • Offers financial, screening, advocacy and proxy voting information

  • Probably the most comprehensive (list wise) of the tools discussed so far

Pros 

Cons

  • Does not have a search tool

  • Can leave one with "paralysis by analysis"

  • You would need to be a slightly more educated investor in order to understand the multitude of information available

 

Ethos 

Ethos allows you to search for companies that support causes that are important to you. 

Ethos aggregates data from a large number of various sustainability sources, including the previously listed tools. 

You can search for stocks that support your cause (climate change in this image)

You can also take a short assessment to determine you "Impact Persona". 

This helps to understand which stocks would be a good fit for your values. 

You can also scroll to the bottom of the page, click on "funds" in the footer and search for sustainable mutual funds and ETF's based on your cause.  

If you create an account, you can "favorite" various funds and stocks as you search which allows you to create a portfolio of sorts based on your values. 

  • Can search investments based on your specific values

  • Allows you to search both individual stocks and ETF's

  • You can "favorite" investments which allows you to build a portfolio

Pros 

Cons

  • You have to know where to look on the page to review your mutual fund or ETF

  • Seems to be focused more on individual stocks (although that may change)

There are a number of free public tools to review sustainable and ESG investments. 

Knowing what you're searching for and your level of investment expertise will dictate which tool or tools are best for you. 

There is enough information available that you should feel comfortable searching for your own ESG investments. 

What this all means for you:

If you don't know where to get started, I would encourage you to check out our Ultimate Guide to ESG Investments.  

If you prefer to delegate, feel free to schedule a phone call.  We're happy to help...

We're a different kind of financial firm than you may be used to. ​

We charge less than the industry*

We offer Sustainable Investments

We donate 20%* of our revenue

  • Facebook Social Icon
  • Twitter Social Icon

© Greater Good Financial 2020


Advisory services offered through Resources Investment Advisors, LLC. ("RIA"), an SEC-registered investment adviser.