Social Investing: 4 Companies Making a Difference

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As consumers, it’s easy to become disillusioned by all of the negative press coverage pointed in the direction of major corporations. For every heartbreaking story of negligence or malicious profiteering, many others slip through the cracks that center around the philanthropic or good-natured contributions to the world that many companies make. With so much negativity, from stories involving General Motors’ (NYSE:GM) recalls, to alleged worker exploitation by Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT) or McDonald’s (NYSE:MCD), and even giant environmental disasters at the hands of companies like British Petroleum (NYSE:BP), it’s all too easy to get swept up in an anti-corporate fervor, much of which is deservedly earned by many companies.

For every public hit a big company like any of the aforementioned takes, every other public relations department in the world gets a chance to watch from a distance, and learn from its mistakes. Calls for higher corporate tax rates and large-scale protests like Occupy Wall Street have also put big companies in an awkward position in which they must still strive for increased growth and and profits for their shareholders while also maintaining a good relationship with the public. How are companies actually managing to pull off such a juggling act?

Many corporations have some sort of outreach program to invest back into its communities, or offer a charitable arm in some shape or form. Others don’t do anything at all. Then there are some that are actively taking initiative to have a real, tangible, and positive impact on society through various means. Here are four companies that are changing the way they do business to have less harm, or simply sticking to an old promise to help out.

Read on to see four companies that are actively investing in the betterment of society.