Back when the sustainable and responsible investment, or SRI, strategy hit the scene, interested investors had to decide whether investing with their consciences was worth passing up some pretty sweet returns.

The focus then was about avoiding "bad" stocks -- companies like Smith & Wesson (NASDAQ:AOBC) were kicked out of SRI portfolios because of their involvement in firearms production. But banishing Smith & Wesson from the list of qualifying companies also meant passing up the 444% gains it achieved in the last 10 years.

SRI investing has come a long way -- much to the benefit of those who want to align their investment dollars with their beliefs.

Today's SRI is about inclusion -- about identifying potential winners. It no longer requires a sacrifice of returns -- and may even help juice your portfolio's returns.

Consider Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA), which has appreciated more than 310% since its IPO three years ago. An SRI analysis would have found that this company was well positioned to benefit from issues such as climate change. Not only does Tesla's electric-vehicle technology reduce dependence on fossil fuels, but it may also be an important element of the next-generation electrical grid.

The Motley Fool recently hosted a Climate Change Summit for investors. In this video, Motley Fool contributor Sara Murphy talks about ways to make SRI investing a strong part of your portfolio -- and not a sacrificial lamb.

Sara Murphy has no position in any stocks mentioned. Follow her on Twitter @SMurphSmiles. The Motley Fool recommends Tesla Motors. The Motley Fool owns shares of Tesla Motors. 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.