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Which socially responsible investment funds (SRIs) hold stock in gas and oil companies? And why?

Today on Marketplace I chatted with Kai Ryssdal about socially responsible investing.

The oil spill has inspired more investors to consider funds and investments in line with social goals, in no small part because BP stockholders lost a whole lot of money. Damage to the environment meant economic damage, too.

But are socially responsible investment funds the way to go if you want to avoid oil and gas companies?

Socially responsible with exceptions

Not necessarily. One example, the Dow Jones Sustainability Index, actually included BP up until the spill. (Here's the press release DJSI issued when they dumped BP.)

You've really got to look beyond the labels and fund names and dig into their holdings--do they make sense to you? Are they in line with what you believe?

I asked Morningstar for a list of the largest socially responsible investment funds by size, so I could sniff around for myself. (This is how they define an SRI.)

Want to guess how many of the top 10 SRI funds have oil and gas companies among their 25 largest holdings? Seven.

Top 10 SRI investment funds

Here are the 10 largest socially responsible investment funds, listed from largest (PIMCO) to smallest (GuideStone). Click on any of the funds below for more information about their oil and gas holdings.

  1. PIMCO Total Return III Instl (PTSAX)

  2. Parnassus Equity Income - Inv (PRBLX)

  3. Ariel (ARGFX)

  4. Pax World Balanced (PAXWX)

  5. Amana Trust Growth (AMAGX)

6 Ariel Appreciation (CAAPX)

  1. GuideStone Funds International Eq GS2 (GIEYX)

  2. Calvert Social Investment Equity A (CSIEX)

  3. Neuberger Berman Socially Resp Inv (NBSRX)

  4. GuideStone Funds Growth Equity GS2 (GGEYX)

About the author

Adriene Hill is the senior multimedia reporter for LearningCurve.

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