SRI’s modern roots can be traced to the heated political climate of the 1960s, where the convergence of numerous profound social issues — a protracted and unpopular war in Vietnam, a violent civil rights struggle, increasing damage to the environment, and the fight for women’s equality — began to raise the public’s consciousness as never before.
This nascent movement significantly broadened during the 1970s and 1980s, spurred by massive environmental disasters such as Chernobyl and the Exxon Valdez, as well as widespread anti-apartheid activism. Many companies came to realize that their long-term future value was intertwined with the health of people and the planet. And investors began to realize these companies offered the potential for both financial and social return.
In 1988, First Affirmative Financial Network (First Affirmative) was formed to serve this emerging movement of responsible investors. First Affirmative is a nationwide network of financial advisors who specialize in SRI and help customers build portfolios aligned with both their values and their financial goals.
In 1990, First Affirmative founded The SRI Conference (later The SRI Conference and Community). The SRI Conference was one of the first gatherings of its kind, bringing socially responsible investors and companies together with the common goal of directing the flow of capital in more positive, healthy, and transformative ways. Over the years, conference attendance has steadily grown, with a 56% increase in attendance between 2011 and 2017 alone.
In 2016, FOLIOfn, Inc. (now Folio Financial) acquired First Affirmative and The SRI Conference as part of the company’s ongoing mission to transform the way people invest for the better. Folio Financial widens the scope of possibilities for responsible investors with new technology, tools, and investment opportunities, including private impact investing.