The Key to Buying Socially Responsible Stocks

Monday's MarketFoolery podcast was a special "mailbag session" devoted entirely to answering listener-submitted questions. In this segment, host Chris Hill, along with analysts Jason Moser and Joe Magyer, respond to an email about investing in "socially responsible stocks."

The guys discuss how the definition of "socially responsible" is a highly personal one, touching on companies such as Chipotle (NYSE: CMG  ) , Smith & Wesson (Nasdaq: SWHC  ) , Altria Group (NYSE: MO  ) , and Philip Morris (NYSE: PM  ) in an attempt to look at both sides of the coin. They also pinpoint the key factor in selecting socially responsible stocks for oneself. Watch the video above for the full discussion on this important topic.

Wal-Mart is one company that, for years, has dealt with accusations of "social irresponsibility." Whether you agree or not, there are two retailers with especially good prospects that are poised to give Wal-Mart a run for its money. You're invited to take a look at The Motley Fool's special free report, "The Death of Wal-Mart: The Real Cash Kings Changing the Face of Retail." In it, you'll see how these two companies are able to consistently outperform, and how they’re planning to ride the waves of retail's changing tide. To access your copy of the report, simply click here now.

Chris Hill has no positions in the stocks mentioned above. Jason Moser owns shares of Chipotle Mexican Grill. Joe Magyer has no positions in the stocks mentioned above. The Motley Fool owns shares of Chipotle Mexican Grill. Motley Fool newsletter services recommend Chipotle Mexican Grill. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.


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Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On October 12, 2012, at 9:55 AM, ehelpies wrote:

    It is oh so obvious this website is anti-tobacco. Just remember charity begins at home and so does the opportunity to buy long term substantial dividend paying stocks.

    You can take your so-called 'socially responsible stocks' and shove them where the sun does not shine.

  • Report this Comment On October 12, 2012, at 10:57 AM, ikkyu2 wrote:

    It's extremely socially irresponsible of Wal-Mart to provide a place where poor people can get $4 prescriptions filled and shop for food and clothes without totally breaking their bank account. These poor people need to man up, drive into the trendy part of town, and shop at the more socially responsible Whole Foods!

  • Report this Comment On October 12, 2012, at 11:45 AM, Laniel wrote:

    ehelpies, a significant part of America is anti-tobacco, for good reason. My father died last year from lung cancer, even though he quit smoking in the 1960's. How many people on these boards do you think have lost a loved one to tobacco-related diseases?

    I can find "long-term substantial dividend paying stocks" without supporting a company that has such a high human cost.

    And I find your last sentence unnecessarily offensive.

  • Report this Comment On October 12, 2012, at 1:50 PM, whyaduck1128 wrote:

    Here's where I have issues with the whole "socially responsible investing" thing. Those who advocate it want to tell me what's right and what's wrong to invest in, but won't do squat for me if I do poorly in my investments. "This is good" and "that is bad", but also, "Gee, your investments stunk, too bad for you".

    Also, I think I have a pretty good sense of right vs. wrong, thank you. Like many of my generation, I was raised by parents who had strong feelings about "doing the right thing" and didn't hesitate to teach them to us. I don't need lectures or nannying.

    My idea of "socially responsible investing" is to make money on stocks regardless of their product, then sell them and donate some of the profits to causes that really are socially beneficial. I believe in using the system rather than standing outside of it, shouting. If that means investing in tobacco, defense, gambling, nuclear energy, etc., so be it.

    Of course, if the best investments also happen to be socially responsible, it's a win-win.

    Laniel--For the record, yes, I've lost loved ones to lung cancer. Investing or not investing in PM, MO, or other tobacco companies won't bring them back.

  • Report this Comment On October 16, 2012, at 7:24 PM, SPKorn wrote:

    Being socially responsible means investing in stocks that perform the best. Winners should be rewarded with more capital.

    Should you wish, you can then donate to the charities of your choosing.

    Free choice. No coercion.

    SWHC and GNRC have done well for me and our family. Great investments. Great products too.

    In contrast, president Obama has a near 100% batting average wasting mucho taxpayer money on green losers. Time to stop the waste and abuse.

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