As the 'Net' expands, so do the number and variety of innovative
ways to communicate with it. The 'plain text' of the first versions
of the World Wide Web was soon replaced by the graphical capabilities
of the Netscape browser. Now, the Web and its browsers, in addition
to supporting an entire panoply of multi-media ranging from radio
to video to telephone, are beginning to enter a whole new era
with the advent of Java software programs, which allow for real-time
desktop computing processes to be linked interactively with those
elsewhere on the Net.
The SRI organizations online are not 'cutting edge'. None of their
websites offers downloadable video or audio clips yet, and aside
from occasional photos and graphics, most of their information
is presented in text format. This is quite sufficient for their
purposes at present. There are, though, several instances where
online tools are being used in innovative ways to enhance the
utility of their information.
Examples of these include: Know What You Own®
Plus Service, Performance Calculator, GreenMoney Public
Company Web, books online, Mutual Funds Performance Chart, online
dictionary, and action alerts.
"Calvert's Know What You Own® Plus
Service provides you with the unique capability to search the
holdings of mutual funds. You may use the service to determine
whether a particular mutual fund is invested in a company of interest
to you. If the company is held in the mutual fund, the results
will show you the percentage of total mutual fund holdings the
company represents as well as the actual dollar value of the holdings.
Either the top 10 holdings or a complete list of holdings for
the mutual fund will also appear on the results page.
To use the Know What You Own® Plus Service,
each user must register by providing their name, e-mail address
and zip code. Once registered, users need only enter their e-mail
address for quick access to the service for future searches.
Calvert's Know What You Own® Service is
updated twice a year and includes the following data*: North American
mutual fund holdings of North American Equity Funds, International
Equity Funds and North American Corporate Bond Funds. Securities
covered include: all NYSE, ASE, NASDAQ, Toronto and Montreal Common
Stocks, US Corporate Bonds, Convertible and Convertible Preferred
*Data is provided by CDA Investment Technologies
Performance Calculator, again on the Calvert
website, is a handy tool for quickly seeing what your investment
has earned over time. As they put it, "This tool helps you
analyze the performance of any Calvert fund using dates and investment
criteria you specify."
GreenMoney Public Company Web is an excellent example of how the
Web links can be used to obtain access to current information
about companies that are leaders in corporate responsibility.
"The purpose of this directory is to identify Web sites maintained
by or featuring publicly-owned companies that are followed by
some investors, stock analysts, and portfolio managers who specialize
in Socially Responsible Investing (SRI). It is also designed to
illustrate the many different types of social issues that are
of interest to those in the SRI movement. ...130 companies."
A new technology applied to an old - making books available online.
Sometimes a particularly important part of a longer work is put
up on a website, such as the first chapter "What is Ethical
Investment?", of the book The Ethical Investor by
Russell Sparkes (Harper Collins, 1995). [no longer available online]
At other times, the entire book is made available. The Shareholder
Action Online Handbook is a good example of putting an entire
book online, broken up into chapters. [no longer available online]
The Social Investment Forum has an online form that surfers can
fill out to join the organization.
The Social Investment Forum's online chart is a quick and handy
way to keep tabs on of the performance of their member mutual
funds. The information is updated monthly.
For those new to the field, Good Money has put online their Dictionary
of Common Investor and Financial Terms.
It is perhaps in the area of mobilizing immediate action on particular
SRI issues that the Web is put to best use. Information on the
issue, and on the ways to deal with it, are presented as a collection
of web pages. Though not as fully developed as some other activist
organizations' action tools, the following examples are a good