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10 Stocks for Socially Responsible Investors

When it began to blossom in the 1980s, "socially responsible" investing was mostly about what investors didn't want to own. That typically meant shunning stocks of so-called vice industries: defense, tobacco, gambling and alcohol.

Today, socially responsible investing is largely dedicated to investing for the greater good of humankind and the planet, which means focusing on companies that have pledged to work toward those goals as part of their culture. By some estimates, $3.7 trillion of U.S. investors' capital now is invested with those SRI goals in mind, or one of every nine dollars under professional management.

We went looking for stocks that are popular with socially responsible mutual funds or that have attributes that ought to make those funds take notice. Our 10 picks represent a cross-section of industries and company sizes. None of the companies or their investors would say that being socially responsible means sacrificing investment returns. Of the nine picks that have been around for at least a decade, eight have outperformed the Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index on an annualized basis over the past 10 years. On the contrary, says Bennett Freeman, senior vice-president for sustainability research and policy at Calvert Funds in Bethesda, Md.: "We believe that attention to environmental, social and governance issues helps, not hinders, investment performance."

Take a look at our list of some of the best stocks for socially responsible investors.

Price/earnings ratios were calculated on Sept. 24, 2014, based on earnings estimates for the next 12 months. Morningstar’s data on stock ownership by 151 socially responsible equity mutual funds is as of June 30, 2014.The stocks are listed alphabetically.

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