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SRI, ESG, & BRI...What Are These Investing Strategies?

Biblically Responsible Investing…maybe you’ve heard of it…often goes by B-R-I.  What is it and how is it different form just investing in good stuff…like socially responsible stuff…known as S-R-I…Socially Responsible Investing.  Or cousin E-S-G…Environmental, Social & Governance.  The terms are often used loosely and the definitions appear fluid.  Let’s take a look and break it down.

Hey, I’m Christian.  I work in the financial industry.  I really didn’t pay much attention to these investing styles.  I was an asset allocation guy, a diversification guy, look for the best run companies without regard to the business they’re in…or the causes they support and promote.

Not so with these investing styles. 

ESG focuses on traditional performance metrics…but also considers how a particular company’s practices related to the environment, society, and government may impact its long term performance.   Things like energy consumption, pollution, animal welfare, community engagement, shareholder rights…well, you get the idea.

SRI, Socially Responsible Investing is focused on ethical values.  Investors look for companies perceived to bring about a positive change in society or to the environment.  Sometimes I’ve seen it described as sustainable, responsible, and impact investing.  These investors actively filter out potential companies if they’re involved in certain businesses.  Common screens include alcohol, gambling, tobacco, weapons and so on.

For me…BRI takes it to the next level…not falling for cultural trends or causes of the day…but timeless principles…biblical principals.  Starting with the belief that God’s owns it all…and you’d want His approval of the companies you choose to invest in with His money.  

That means BRI investing starts with some basic givens…filtering out companies in the business of or involved with abortion, abortion drugs, donations to Planned Parenthood.  From there the filters can go deeper…screening out things like gambling, anti-family activity, human rights, pornography.  

As everyone’s ethics, values and even interpretation of the Bible are not the same…there’s no single definition or filter for SRI or BRI.  But I believe BRI, while maybe not perfect, is a perfect start at honoring God with our investments.