Check Out These Top 3 Stocks for Socially Responsible Investing

Jennifer is a member of The Motley Fool Blog Network -- entries represent the personal opinion of the blogger and are not formally edited.

In spite of the economy, socially responsible investing is making a comeback. Socially responsible investing is an investment strategy that seeks to consider both financial returns and social good, measures that will vary for each investor depending on his or her standards. While there is no common set of standards that define a socially responsible stock, there are certain consistent themes that tend to be associated with socially responsible investing.

Typically, socially responsible investors usually prefer to avoid making investments in companies that engage in the production or sale of alcoholic beverages, tobacco products, gambling or sports betting activities, and devices of violence or warfare (guns, bullets, etc). Also, socially responsible investors seek to invest in companies that engage in environmental sustainability and responsibility.

But, these same investors want to see gains on their investments, just like everyone else, even if they are socially responsible investments. Here are a few stocks that are socially responsible and have turned a profit.

It's no surprise that Starbucks (NASDAQ: SBUX) made the list. After wisely downsizing its US expansion plans, slowly expanding into China and offering Starbucks branded K-Cups to jump into the single serve coffee market, this company is on a roll recently.  Starbucks earns recognition as a socially responsible company by standing behind its decision to buy coffee beans from importers who pay above market prices to small farmers.

Although this stock had hit a low point, Intel (NASDAQ: INTC) has rallied and started attracting investors looking for potential bargains. Even as the PC market has struggled, Intel remains highly profitable and is financially stable enough to pay out a quarterly dividend of $0.22 per share. Also, Intel's investments in technology education, global waste recycling teams, and community initiatives makes this stock a win-win.

UPS (NYSE: UPS) is a company known for its strong employee programs, ramped up efforts for sustainability, and consistent investments in the community through its philanthropy. Words like community, loyalty, and teamwork still mean something at UPS, and it is not unusual to find employees that have been with the company for 30 to 40 years because of its commitment to its workers through good pay, first class health care, and opportunities for advancement within the company.

For those of you who would rather invest through mutual funds, be sure to check out Calvert Group. Calvert Investments offer mutual funds that invest in socially and environmentally responsible companies. For those new to socially responsible investing, this would be a great way to get your feet wet. You can go to their website at

Jennifer Streaks is a Financial Expert, Author & Pundit. Follow her on twitter @jstreaks or get more of her Money Tips on her website

jstreaks has no positions in the stocks mentioned above. The Motley Fool owns shares of Intel and Starbucks and has the following options: short JAN 2013 $47.00 puts on Starbucks. Motley Fool newsletter services recommend Intel, Starbucks, and United Parcel Service. 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.If you have questions about this post or the Fool’s blog network, click here for information.

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