Few of us are aware of how people can “vote with your wallet.” Even fewer of us are aware of how you don’t have to wait for voting to make an impact. Let’s dive into the “vote with your wallet” phrase and what that means in making an impact.
What Does it Mean to “Vote With Your Wallet?”
Dollar voting, or voting with your wallet, refers to making socially conscious purchases from companies that align with your values. Companies are motivated by profit. When consumers boycott or refuse to purchase from a company that employs unethical business practices, they take a stand against those ideas and can choose to support socially responsible businesses instead.
How To Vote With Your Wallet
When money talks, companies listen. Boycotts work and are a critical piece of our American culture. The boycott of British goods in the Revolutionary era, the Montgomery Bus Boycotts during the Civil Rights Movement, or the Delano Grape boycott (and strike) for better working conditions illustrate the long history and truly American nature of dollar voting for social change. History has shown us that economic pressure is an effective tool we can utilize to shape our world for the better.
How Voting with Your Wallet Can Make an Impact
There are many resources for finding companies that support your values. Lists of companies that exploit prison labor, engage in animal testing, promote unsustainable practices, and more are readily available for conscious consumers. In addition, you can find lists of companies that are inclusive and sustainable when looking for new places to shop. Part of the process is doing some research on companies you frequently purchase from, ethical substitutes for common unethical brands, and companies that align with your personal values. We must also listen to the voices and demands of activists and organizers calling for our financial support or divestment from certain brands. Another thing to consider is how you use your dollar to invest in the future of our country and if your investments reflect your vote.
One way to do that is to become an ethical investor and engage in impact investing. Impact investing, which is founded on principles of social responsibility and sustainable problem solving, is the practice of investing in companies developing solutions to global challenges.
Here at Invested Interests, we have portfolios that support causes like the environment, peace, and human rights, and diversity. Through responsible and conscious investing, you can ensure that your finances support your values and vision for the future.
How Can I Change the World Outside of Voting?
There’s a fundamental issue with investing in America: Your money might support companies that harm people and the planet, and you probably don’t even realize it.
When we buy products, say for example a smartphone — we’re essentially giving that company a ‘thumbs up’ in approval.
We’re saying, ‘Hey, I like what you’re doing, and here’s more money to keep doing it…’
Well, the same can be true for investing. When we buy stocks, we’re saying that we approve of that company’s products and policies. What if I told you the majority of retirement accounts and index funds invest in big oil, coal mining, and tobacco… and the list goes on and on. Would you give these industries a ‘thumbs up?’ If we look at the state of the world, we can see we’re not always funding what’s best for the planet.
So let’s look at some crazy numbers:
- In 2018, over 480,000 people died from tobacco.
- We’re actively pumping 96,000 oil and gas wells on public lands for fossil fuels that create 2/3rds of our carbon emissions.
- And we dump 1.5 million pounds of trash into our oceans every hour.
- So, if we care about climate change, we can stop funding fossil fuels.
- And if we want to prevent lung cancer, let’s stop investing in tobacco.
What is Impact Investing?
Look, it’s simple. If we want to see a change in the world, we don’t have to wait every four years to vote. We can vote every day by choosing what products we buy and investing in the things that we care about. It’s called impact investing.
Impact Investing refers to investments “made into companies with the intention to generate a measurable, beneficial, social or environmental impact alongside a financial return.” There are two primary reasons that you might choose Impact Investing. One, you are conscious about how your money impacts the world, and two, you believe the issues addressed by Impact Investing are important and will have a positive effect on your investment return.
With impact investing, your money supports companies that solve global challenges, instead of causing them. And if you’re wondering — Yes. Investing with impact also means good business. Studies show that stocks of companies with high environmental and social impact have actually outperformed the market for 25 years. So, if we don’t have to compromise our values to build our wealth, then what are we doing?
Want to finally start aligning your values with your investments? Check out our impact investing portfolios . If you like what you see, reach out to Invested Interests and we’ll get in touch with you ASAP! Reach us at https://investedinterests.com/contact-us/