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Ethics in business

Socially responsible investing

From the May 2002 issue of The Christian Science Journal

of Domini Social Investments can trace the roots of socially responsible investing (SRI) back more than two centuries. The movement, she says, evolved "out of faith-based investment decisions," and was accelerated by environmental and human rights movements in the 1960s and '70s. Ms. Domini likens the world's financial engine to a stampeding stagecoach, in need of a cowboy hero to save the occupants from social and ecological disaster. And she sees neither government nor corporate management as up to the job. The only "caring presence" that can regain control, she argues, is the group of investors guided by an ethics-values compass. Senior staff writer talked with Ms. Domini about the way her convictions have shaped her life and career.

You've written, "We want to make money because we want a better life, more security, a legacy for our children or our planet.... But socially responsible investors ask that first we do no harm."1 Do you see yourself taking a healer's approach to the marketplace?

I had never thought of it in that vocabulary. I do believe we have a fundamentally flawed financial and commercial structure that is going to lead to a disastrous outcome. You know, it doesn't really matter where the stampeding stagecoach will end up. The fact that it doesn't have direction is the disaster.

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