This month, many will observe the 44th anniversary of Earth Day, a day to celebrate and emphasize the protection of the Earth and its natural resources. One might think that saving for college and saving the planet don’t have much in common. But thanks to the socially–responsible investing movement, green–minded savers can help their social consciences as well as generate investment returns.
Also known as "sustainable," "green" and "ethical" investing, the concept is gaining popularity. In fact, U.S. investments in funds that favor environmental, social and governance (ESG) criteria grew to $3.74 trillion in 2012.
Virginia529 inVEST has offered the Socially Targeted Investment Portfolio since 2009. Parnassus Investments, manager of the fund, seeks companies with sustainable competitive advantages that respect the environment and practice ethical business. In addition, they avoid investing with companies who derive revenue from activities they do not consider socially responsible, including gambling and the manufacturing of weapons, alcohol or tobacco products.
If you’d like to add a little extra "green" to your college savings strategy, learn more about the Socially Targeted Investment Portfolio.
The investment objective of the Socially Targeted Investment Portfolio is to achieve both capital appreciation and current income by investing primarily in a diversified portfolio of large-cap equity securities using financial, environmental, social, and governance (ESG) criteria.
The Socially Targeted Investment Portfolio invests entirely in the Parnassus Equity Income Fund. In general, Parnassus Investments will choose to invest in companies that it believes will generate attractive risk–adjusted returns over the long term while taking ESG factors into account. The key criteria the investment team looks for in its company-specific investment process are: future relevancy of a company’s products or services, competitive moat, strong management and attractive valuation. The Fund invests principally in undervalued equity securities of large-cap companies. At least 75% of the Parnassus Equity Income Fund’s total assets will be invested in equity securities that pay dividends. The remaining 25% of the Fund’s total assets may be invested in non-dividend paying equity securities. Up to 20% of the Parnassus Equity Income Fund’s total assets can be invested in foreign securities (typically through American Depository receipts).