Once you decide which screens are most important to you, it's time to find the closest match. You might start by looking at Web sites that provide details on socially responsible investing. The most complete Web site of how SRI funds screen companies is the Social Investment Forum.
Accurate information about a fund family's screening efforts is also often available on the firm's Web site. Moreover, prospectuses and annual reports carry basic information about the types of social screens that the funds use. SRI customer-service representatives should also be able to answer your questions. Finally, examine a recent portfolio of any SRI fund you're seriously considering. Sure, a fund may say it uses environmental screens, but are those screens stringent enough for you? For example, Neuberger Berman Socially Responsive NBSRX takes a relative approach to screening. That is, the managers look for the companies in each industry with the best workplace and environmental records. That means, however, that the fund owns oil-exploration company Newfield Exploration (NFX). Investors seeking stellar environmental records may not be that comfortable owning even the most socially responsible oil-exploration firm.
Is This Fund Involved in Shareholder Activism and Community Investment? >>