Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Can I work in finance and be socially and environmentally responsible?

Many economics undergraduate students see the study of economics as a means to a very rewarding end. Indeed, students of mine often find jobs in the top city banks and accountancy firms.

So what is a financially minded but socially and/or environmentally conscious student to do? Those that take environmental economics may fit in here somewhere, likewise those students that take a Masters degree in Environmental Economics.

It is for this reason that I am posting this article from today's inbox. Thanks to Forex Blog for sending me this link.

After some introductory blurb the article lists 13 socially responsible finance jobs although I am not sure where they got the number 13 from.

13 Socially Responsible Careers in Finance

If you're interested in a financial career, you might be curious about how your interests can lead to reconciliation between your job and your belief system. Social finance might open the door to several solutions for your dilemma. While social financing might seem new, it's been around since the first individual took a stand against profit at any cost. A Quaker would no more finance slavery before the Civil War than a conscientious objector would finance war machines today.

Before you have an epiphany about your career goals, you might want to learn more about the various facets within social financing, the career opportunities that are open to you, and the education you may need to pursue your dreams.

Social Finance Defined

Social finance means that financial instruments are used to promote social goals. Financial instruments used to accomplish these goals include credit, savings, investments, and loans, among other devices. These tools help the poor to cope better with risk, take advantage of income-generating opportunities, to organize and to have a voice. These tools also incorporate personal values and societal concerns with investment decisions, where individuals or groups hope to support sustainable business efforts.

Social finance has, historically, belonged to governments and charitable or religious organizations; however, with a focus on global warming and with news about difficulties encountered by individuals in underdeveloped countries, the private sector has become involved in this specialized field. While some businesses and individuals seek to use funds for philanthropy, others want to contribute with an eye to profit.

So, while the social goals may seem similar among most social financiers, intents behind those goals may vary widely. For instance, a public corporation and a private individual both may want to support lower income populations. But, the corporation might want to eliminate poverty to create a new consumer pool for their products while the individual might work toward the same goal to support a belief in social equality.

The 4 main jobs listed are:

Community Investor:


Nonprofit Sector:

Social Entrepreneur:

See the article for more information. However, the sentiment of the final paragraph of the article is worth posting and should make interesting reading to all economics graduates.
No matter your direction once you get your feet wet in this field, you may learn that financial opportunities don't always lead to gluttony, lust, and depravity. Nor will they all lead to living without the needs vital to survival. Whether you lean toward nonprofit or for-profit careers in social financing, you can find an area that needs your support and interest. You may find that your new career will help you "do good" and do well.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

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