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Biz Briefs: Bottoms-Up Divesting

1 minute read
Barbara Kiviat

Sometimes, living by your principles is a difficult thing to do. Last month Pax World Funds, a socially responsible investing outfit, sold 375,000 shares of Starbucks, worth some $23.4 million, because the java chain started selling coffee liqueur with spirits firm Jim Beam–and Pax won’t invest in companies that make liquor. “We were very reluctant to do this,” says Anita Green, Pax’s vice president for social research. “There’s a lot we like about this company.” In fact, Starbucks has been lauded–by Pax and others–for its progressive environmental policies, its commitment to sell Fair Trade coffee and its treatment of workers. The coffee chain said it was disappointed by the decision but acknowledged Pax’s strict social screens. Even more disappointed may be people who own shares of the Pax World Balanced fund. Since Pax first invested in Starbucks eight years ago, the stock has quintupled in value. –By Barbara Kiviat

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