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10 Best Ethical Stocks & Socially Responsible Trading Guide

Ethical stocks are becoming an increasingly important subject as we take a greater look as a society towards our social responsibilities and we can now do this with some of the best companies.

It seems that as a human race, we are thinking about our environmental and ethical impact now, more than we ever have. From recycling, gender and racial equality, fossil fuel usage, and generally being ‘greener’ and kinder to our planet, we now wish to align our beliefs with our investments and consider more socially responsible trading.

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10 best ethical stocks & socially responsible companies

earth burns as socially responsible trading and ethical stocks become more mainstream
Earth heating up

This general ethical ideology and social responsibility doesn’t have to end with our own personal consumption, and should filter through to every aspect of our lives including our finances, trading and money management.

The stocks that we invest our hard earned money in should behave ethically and echo the values that we choose to live our lives. 

This more ethical stocks investing and socially responsible trading also need not come at the expense of profitability.

Ethical Stocks & Socially Responsible Trading Need Not Come At The Expense Of Profit

Some of the most ethical listed companies and subsequently their stocks, are also emerging as some of the most successful financially. It is clear from the huge amount of interest surrounding EV stocks that individuals are changing behaviour when given the opportunity.

Highly skilled and socially responsible employees are drawn more towards those enterprises that share their ideals and are trading roles. This ability to attract the best available employees has the added advantage of bringing a competitive edge over some less socially responsible competitors.

As an investor, you will likely know and appreciate that one of the key targets of large public multinational corporations is to generate shareholder value. This in turn could make their stocks more appealing, and thus attract further shareholders and an increase in asset value.

ethical stocks can be profitable too

We have seen more in recent times that a focus solely on profits, without a concern for social responsibility and ethics can and will turn off a lot of potential investors. 

Shareholder value does not need to focus solely on financial value, but the wider gamut of values that are important to investors, including social and ethical values.

There are various lists of companies also according to their level of social responsibility that focus on one individual core value from many other sources. One of our favorite places to find these resources is published on Library of Congress.

You will find below 10 of the best ethical stocks and socially responsible companies that appear to be trying to operate their business in a kinder, more responsible manner but also have a significant amount of upside potential for trading.

10 best ethical stocks & socially responsible companies to consider

3M (MMM)

Formally known as Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company, 3M is famed for their well known products such as Post-it notes and scotch tape. The company’s stock has performed well in recent years, with it being up by around 27%. 3M views its Code of Conduct as not just a representation of its values, but a competitive advantage as well. 

Michael Duran, the vice president and chief ethics and compliance officer has said “Acting with unwavering integrity is a critical component of 3M’s culture and guides how 3M does business. In these challenging times, I am especially proud of more than 90,000 3Mers who every day live 3M values and protect our reputation. 

Price range: $139.74 – $208.95 – 52 week high/low

Ecolab (ECL)

Ecolab is an American company based in Minnesota that specialises in water treatment, purification and cleaning and hygiene. Ecolab has been mentioned on Ethisphere’s most ethical list and is very proud of receiving such an accolade for 15 consecutive years. Ecolab has been awarded in several other areas such as; Employment for women, LGBT equality, Sustainability, Diversity to name a few. Ecolab has big plans of improvement for the future, with aiming to halve their carbon emissions by 2030 and to reduce them to net-zero by 2050, an impressive goal to achieve in the next 10 years.

Ecolab’s stock price is also quite impressive with an 80% rise in just 5 years. The stock price is now sitting close to an all time high, being within 5% of its all time highest price.   

Price range: $166.43 – $230.00 – 52-week high/low

Beyond Meat (BYND)

Recent trends suggest that not eating meat can greatly reduce your carbon footprint and improve animal welfare . What better company to back than a plant-based meat alternative producing company. Beyond Meat have boldly claimed that they will revolutionise the types of food people eat. There are numerous ethical by-products to shifting towards a more plant based diet. 

plant based ethical stocks lead by beyond meat

Beyond Meat’s IPO launch in 2019 garnered much attention, with its initial offering at $25 to a whopping high of $72.75 and closing on a stable $66.75, the initial shareholders could have made five times their initial investment.

Price range: $41.33 – $221.00, 52-week high/low 

Microsoft (MSFT)

Microsoft, the well known software giant, is one of the world’s largest companies. It battles daily with Apple to secure the title for the most valuable company in the world. Microsoft has been placed on Ethisphere’s most ethical companies for the 10th consecutive year. This is interesting, as other global giants such as Google, Facebook and Apple have been left off this prestigious list.

Microsoft has amassed quite a few ethics awards, focusing their efforts in human rights, LGBTQ equalities and also leading the way for the best company for workers by industry. Bill Gates, former CEO, founder and a current board member of Microsoft is well known for his charitable enterprises.   

Price range:  $224.26 – $349.67, 52 week high/low (CRM)

Salesforce, is a customer relationship management company, which offers customers an all in one solution for CRM. It is a very popular stock option on Wall Street and is often labelled with a “strong buy” rating. A lot of investors consider Salesforce to be one of the best ethical stocks around.

Salesforce has hired a chief ethical and humane officer to focus on more ethical technology and human rights. Salesforce also has a high focus on operating as a net-zero company and have been net-zero since 2017.

Price range: $184.44 – $311.75, 52- week high/low

6. Patagonia

Patagonia is a clothing company that has an ethical focus on environmental sustainability. The company produces high-quality outdoor apparel and gear while also working to protect the environment.

7. The Body Shop

The Body Shop is a cosmetics company that ethical focuses on social responsibility. The company works to empower women and fight against animal testing.

The core values of the business are very much built around being a socially responsible company rather than just adding in some features for the marketing team to work with afterwards for PR. If you are looking for ethical stocks that do a huge amount right throughout the organisation, The Body Shop is about as socially responsible as you will find.

8. Tesla

When many people think about Tesla, the first thought is electric cars. Tesla is a sustainable energy company that although has a main base in electric vehicles, is also thought of as the next big renewable energy storage company.

There have been bumps in the road with Tesla on the energy front, becoming advocates for Bitcoin before pulling back due to the energy consumption of the crypto giant. That being said, the company is leading the way in the transition to a sustainable energy future and led by Elon Musk continues to innovate in ways many other ethical stocks do not.

9. Unilever

Unilever is a consumer goods company that ethical focuses on sustainability and social responsibility. The company has a long history of ethical leadership and is committed to making a positive difference in the world.

Like Beyond Meat, Unilever have also gone to great lengths to become a major player in the meat replacement industry which has all the associated benefits to carbon emissions, alongside a seat at the table of most influential consumer goods companies. Whilst the road to becoming a fully ethical stock is a long one for a brand such as Unilever, they are making steps.

10. Nestle

Nestle is a food and beverage company that ethical focuses on healthy living and environmental sustainability. The company is committed to providing healthy food and beverages to people around the world.

To sum up, Ethical investing is about more than money

Ethical stocks are a great way to invest in socially responsible companies that are doing good in the world. Consider trading in what is important to you, and the successes you do experience will carry a much greater meaning than purely a financial one.

The best ethical stocks to you personally will likely be quite different to someone else that holds different personal values and beliefs. These values and beliefs are what shape a lot of how you may interpret the world, and the world through your eyes is like no other. Whilst we have put together some broad categories of large socially responsible trading companies, there are many others out there to consider.

The art of investing is complicated, but to many it is just that… an art. If we think of our investment capital in the way an artist selects their projects, we may be closer to socially responsible trading than we think!

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