Should I invest with my conscience?



This paper discusses the idea that investors have moral reasons to avoid investing in certain business areas based on their own moral views towards these areas. Some have referred to this as ‘conscience investing’, and it is a central part of the conception of ethical investing within the socially responsible investment (SRI) movement. The paper presents what is taken to be the main arguments for this kind of investing as they are given by those who have defended it, and discusses the plausibility of these arguments from the point of view of moral philosophy. The paper argues that focusing on the moral views of individual investors is not very fruitful – there are strong reasons to think that investors do not have moral reasons to invest ‘with their consciences’, or, to the extent that such reasons are allowed, that they are very weak compared with other sorts of moral reasons pertaining to ethical investing.