Socially responsible investing is an approach to investing that seeks a financial return on the investment while also investing in order to bring about social good or social change.It is also terms “sustainable investing” or “responsible investing.”Investing in alternative energy, such as wind turbines, is an example of socially responsible investing.

Communications investing, on the other hand, has to do with investing in the communications sector, both telecommunications and media communications.Communications investing, then, may include buying stock in a telecommunications company, such as AT&T.In this case, AT&T also owns DirecTV, so

Increasingly, particular segments of our society, especially millennials and women, think socially responsible investing is important.However, questions remain as to whether socially responsible investing is financially sound.Although the majority of American investors aren’t sold on the idea of socially responsible investing, it is a movement that seems to be rapidly gaining ground.

In the early 1990s as individuals became more aware of socially responsible investing, it was the case that so-called vice industries (pornography, guns, tobacco products) were simply left out of the portfolios of those who sought to be more socially aware with their investments.Now, the term has shifted to include investing in companies, concepts and projects that actively promote some sort of social good—either raising awareness, implementing “green” practices or other causes that individuals identify as doing “good” in society.

How Socially Responsible Are These Investments?

Questions remain, however, as to how socially responsible some investments actually are and how we can measure and make accountable the funds and companies that we invest in.For example, a manufacturing companies with “green” facilities sometimes dispose of refuse in ways that are not environmentally responsible.

Some companies, in order to garner investorsbill themselves as prioritizing diversity.Certainly, on the surface this sounds appealing to many investors, particularly considering that a large audience for socially responsible investing is made up of women.However, it may be that “diversity” means women on the board and in C-level positions in the company, while the average rank and file workers are still make up largely of men.

Investing in a company that manufactures solar panels seems like it would be a good strategy for an individual committed to socially responsible investing.However, many Chinese companies that manufacture solar panels are creating large amounts of pollution.

In short, just because a company is billed as a socially responsible investment, investors who are aware and truly committed to socially responsible investing must do their research to ensure that they are investing in causes that truly fit with their ideology.It’s recommended that since funds and individual companies vary widely in their commitment to social good, investors do their homework.This homework may be made easier by consulting an appropriate financial professional.

Communications investing, that is investing in media and telecommunications companies, can become a form of socially responsible investing, if you are mindful about exactly what and whom you are investing in.

In the end, it is incumbent upon you, as someone who seeks to practice socially responsible investing, to decide upon your priorities.These priorities are both financial (what type of return do you anticipate) as well as ideological (how well a company or fund adheres to your own values).