Socially and environmentally responsible investments topped $1 trillion in the United States, says a study by the Social Investment Forum, Washington. Assets invested according to social criteria grew to $1.185 trillion this year from $639 billion in 1995, an 85% increase. The growth is attributed to a total of 710 major investors -- mutual funds, pension funds, community development funds and foundations -- making socially responsible investments.
Assets invested in screened equity portfolios grew 227% to $529 billion from $162 billion two years ago. The number of socially and environmentally screened mutual funds grew to 144 in 1997 from 55 in 1995. Assets in such mutual funds grew to $96 billion from $12 billion.
Anti-tobacco sentiment is driving much of the investment interest. More than 97% of managers running screened equity portfolios and 84% of all socially screened asset pools avoid tobacco investment. Investors dumped $157 billion of tobacco-related investments in the last two years, compared with $6.6 billion in the forum's 1995 survey.