Interesting and Useful Online Tools

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.

Know What You Own ® Plus Service

"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 Bonds.

*Data is provided by CDA Investment Technologies Inc...."

Performance Calculator [no longer available on website]

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

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."

Books online

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]

SIF's Online Sign-up Form

The Social Investment Forum has an online form that surfers can fill out to join the organization.

SIF's Socially Responsible Mutual Fund Performance Chart

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.

On-line Dictionary

For those new to the field, Good Money has put online their Dictionary of Common Investor and Financial Terms.

Action Alerts

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 start:

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Last update of this page September 12, 2000