Put Your Money Where Your Heart Is

How you earn and spend your cash can either be aligned with your
values or contradict them. Following are some ideas to get you
thinking like a new capitalist.

One of the all-around best sources of progressive consumer
information is theCo-op America website
The site has tips and tools for the conscious consumer, including a
resource at
that allows you to plug in the name of a company and learn all
about its employment, environmental, and human rights records. The
Green Guide
provides a similar service, although some of the content is
subscription protected. The Center for a New American Dream at
www.newdream.org helps users
find products and companies that support progressive values. Of
course, the best shopping is often found at your neighborhood
thrift store.

You don’t have to schedule a meeting with the CEO to make positive
changes in your workplace. Start by looking at your own work and
asking yourself if you could make it more socially responsible.
Environmental initiatives, like starting up a recycling program,
can be a good place to begin. Besides being the right thing to do,
they usually save money — a fact that is likely to be well
received by your boss. The Aussie website
will help you start brainstorming about other ways to make an
impact. Green@work magazine
offers articles and tips with a can-do attitude about corporate
social responsibility. The organization Business for Social
Responsibility (www.bsr.org)
offers consulting and other resources to companies embracing
progressive values. Another route to social change in the workplace
is unionization: not for the timid, as the cards are stacked in
favor of your boss. You can find a comprehensive guide to the
organizing process at
www.iww.org. Finally,
entrepreneurs are leading the way to greener, more responsible
workplaces. If it’s time to start your own business, check out In
Business magazine
(www.jgpress.com), which
offers resources and articles for socially minded entrepreneurs,
and consider joining the Social Venture Network
(www.svn.org), a membership group
of socially responsible businesses.

The number of socially responsible investment funds is growing
rapidly. If you have investments now or are thinking about making
them, you can explore the various financial instruments for putting
your money to work for good causes at the Social Investment Forum
a nonprofit organization linked to Co-op America. For the
experienced investor,
offers newsfeeds and updates on socially responsible investing, and
the site’s media section can be helpful for the newbie, too. The
Friends of the Earth website
(www.foe.org) includes an
extensive how-to guide for shareholder activism. Green Money
is a quarterly magazine for socially responsible investors that
offers both print and online subscriptions.

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