Do we really need to explain how much influence money has in a free-market economy? Such economies depend on an ample supply of investors to provide capital to both new and existing businesses. That means you can cast powerful votes with your investment dollars for businesses that don't exploit wildlife, important habitat, or the environment.
The problem is, environmentally responsible investing requires patience and vigilance. For example, you want to invest in Company X, which you deem eco-friendly. But Company X may be owned by a larger company that's not so green.
Also, huge numbers of people now invest through mutual funds, which allow unsophisticated investors to pool their money with others and let experts take care of the financial analysis. The problem is that few of us take the time to examine every company the fund invests in.
Perhaps the best option, short of becoming a financial analyst, is to invest in mutual funds that invest only in socially responsible companies. Many such funds now exist, and lists of them can be found on the Web.
Of course, you'll want to carefully examine a company's definition of "socially responsible." And just because it's socially responsible doesn't mean your investment dollars are in good hands. You should evaluate potential risk and return just as you would with any other investment vehicle.
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