Socially Responsible Investing
I. Universe Spirit's Commitment to Going Beyond
We believe there can be balance between financial and social objectives and by using Socially Responsible Investing (SRI) techniques, we minimize conflicts between our investment strategy and living our core vision, values and mission. We are therefore committed to going beyond the scope of traditional financial objectives to identify and articulate investment decisions that are in alignment with the core values of the Foundation.
Our investment portfolio is comprised of companies, financial institutions and government offerings whose products, services and/or ways of doing business are consistent and in alignment with our stated core values.
We are additionally interested in pursuing alternative investments in the areas of economic development and low-income housing. It is our goal to have at least 5% of our total investment portfolio consisting of these alternative investments.
II. What does it mean to invest in a socially responsible way?
Universe Spirit is a socially responsible investor. This commitment indicates our investment capital is used in ways that support the social progress and environmental sustainability of the planet. Our financial returns are generated through pro-active, conscious investment in organizations supporting and working towards developing a socially and environmentally responsible world. We participate in shareholder activism so that stock voting rights are exercised in a manner consistent with our goals and values.
III. SRI Screening
Integrative Spirituality promotes the practice of using supportive screens in portfolio management as a filter for seeking out exemplary organizations. Supportive Screens encompass the following characteristics:
- WORKPLACE ENVIRONMENT: Companies which foster a sense of community in the workplace, by maintaining a consistent strategy of hiring and training of low to moderate income employees, provided them with appropriate benefits and opportunities to participate in profit sharing, and encouraging their participation in key decision making. These model organizations also have reputations of having positive labor and union relationships within their industries.
- PRODUCT: Companies known for their high-quality products or services, that lead their industry in R&D spending and that target the specific needs of the economically disadvantaged.
- ENVIRONMENTAL: Companies that are involved in alternative energy technologies and who are consistently supporting appropriate and positive environmental practices.
- COMMUNITY INVESTMENT: Companies and financial institutions that support and contribute to positive community investments and access to capital.
A secondary mechanism to promote social objectives regarding Integrative Spirituality investments is Negative Screening - the avoidance of investment in companies whose business objectives and behavior are inconsistent with our stated goals and values, such as:
- WORKPLACE ENVIRONMENT: Companies that fail to maintain a consistent no-layoff policy, employee training, profit sharing plans or profit sharing.
- WOMEN AND MINORITIES: Companies that are the subject of fines, civil penalties or settlements, or controversies relating to price fixing or affirmative action records.
- ALCOHOL AND TOBACCO: Companies deriving revenues from alcohol and tobacco.
- WEAPONS: Companies involved in the manufacture or sale of weapons, including companies with substantial subcontracts for components used in weapon systems.
- PRODUCT: Companies involved in product liability lawsuits, controversies relating to the firm's advertising, marketing or production practices, or controversies relating to price fixing, anti-trust violations or consumer fraud.
- ENVIRONMENT: Companies with significant environmental concerns, including companies who are major polluters or emitter of toxic chemicals, CFC's or major producers or agricultural chemicals.