Our Voices

Investing in war can never be socially responsible

In Russia’s War Prompts a Pitch for ‘Socially Responsible’ Military Stocks (Strategies, March 5), the notion that investing in arms is a path to peace is so absurd it’s laughable.

Yet, Jeff Sommer’s reporting presents a simple truth: Even the gravest humanitarian crises present an opportunity for capitalists and money engines to capitalize on profits.

Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Compass Investors Program, a network of investors representing nearly $7 trillion in assets under management, has worked for more than a decade to expand ESG investing worldwide. From experience, we know that investing in war can never be socially responsible. What is: is pushing companies to go beyond toothless pledges to cut ties with Russia, or to end systemic racism. Two years after 2020’s great racial reckoning, just 7 percent of the $65 billion promised by corporations have been contributed. We point investors to our multi-pronged action plan, urging them to screen portfolios, across all asset classes, by eliminating models, products and practices in order to begin to rectify injustices.

A look at Yale University’s new report detailing the fine print of 300 companies’ weakly-worded decisions to curtail business with Russia hints that history may repeat itself. For the rest of us, that means acting with our wallets accordingly.

Dalley is Senior Vice President of Strategic Partnerships and Program Director of RFK Human Rights’ Compass Investors Program.