A number of high profile funds are ditching tobacco from their portfolios, while Exxon investors demand the oil company shares information on its impact on climate change.
Given the companies involved, it could almost be an anti-Trump backlash as investors protest the US President's climate change denial and apparent willingness to use a pro-business agenda to overturn regulatory oversight.
California's state pension fund Calpers is one of the most highly visible investors that is attempting to re-align its portfolio towards a more ethical leaning.
Its recent decision, along with Axa, Scor and AMP Capital, to sell all tobacco investments was promoted by World No Tobacco Day.
Their statement read: "We in the investment community are becoming increasingly aware of the important role we can play in helping to address the health and societal impacts of tobacco."
Calpers has previous form – investing in green technologies, bans on investment in arms manufacturers and coal companies – and has gained as much criticism as praise for "playing politics with pensions".
A rising trend
But the trend is rising. And growth in socially responsible assets is as important in this trend as the growth in those wanting to invest in them.
In 2007, Oppenheimer Funds and US trade group SIF Foundation recorded $202bn of investor capital in actively managed socially responsible investment (SRI) vehicles in the US – including mutual funds, exchange traded funds (ETFs) and closed end funds.
At the end of 2016 there was more than ten times this amount – $2.6tn.
In the UK, the retail SRI market is now worth about £15bn, up from £12bn less than three years ago, according to data from Triodos Bank, which recently launched a sustainable investment current account.
"It's still a relatively small proportion of the UK investment market, but it is on an upward trend," says Huw Davies, head of Triodos' retail banking unit.
"This now includes both retail customers and institutional investors who are starting to question what they're investing in, and whether it makes more sense to be investing sustainably."
Why such growth?
There are several reasons for this growth – not least the expanding investment universe. Eliminating tobacco, alcohol, arms and gambling from their portfolios no longer goes far enough for many investors.
Modern SRI portfolios are guided by a number of environmental, social and governance (ESG) metrics that take into account themes such as carbon emissions, fraud, employee relations and other ethical values.
“In the US negative screening in ethical investing is by far the biggest strategy, whereas in Europe they're much more focused on ESG,” says Muna Abu-Habsa, director of fund research at Morningstar, the fund rating agency.
And the demographics are unsurprising. Millennials – or those born in the couple of decades prior to the turn of the millennium – are hungry for such investments. It's another way of expressing their social, political and environmental values.
"More people are taking an active consideration of how they consume things – what transport they use, what energy, food they buy and where it's coming from,” says Davies.
Nearly two-thirds of 18-34 year olds polled by Triodos said they would like their money to support companies that are making a positive contribution to society.
Furthermore, says Davies, "most of these say they would move their money if they found it was being invested in companies that conflicted with their personal values".
Asset managers respond
This makes investment an ethical consideration first and a financial decision second. And an increasing number of fund managers are seeing that this is a growing trend.
"There's a general shift in society towards sustainability and financials are starting to catch on to that, and it bodes well for the future," says Davies.
For those who want to invest solely in doing good – particularly in the developing world – development banks and other development finance institutions that help build important infrastructure projects can offer the answer.
Without the tools and technology to tend farmland and extract valuable resources from the earth, the wealth of many developing nations remains in the hands of large, and mostly foreign, corporations.
Without roads, rail and communications networks, companies struggle for labour and produce cannot be moved to, and sold on the appropriate markets. And without energy, schools and hospitals cannot be built, and fledgling companies are unable to grow.
Investing in such projects is becoming known as impact investing – for those investors who are willing to sacrifice the highest levels of returns in the knowledge their investment is for social gains.
Philippe Valahu, chief executive of Private Infrastructure Investment Group (PIDG), says: "I see a lot of private financial institutions that have set up impact funds."
He adds: "A percentage of the fund is allocated to develop social projects where investors will sacrifice a portion of their financial returns for ‘feelgood’ returns."
How do I get involved?
As already noted, the number of products available has grown rapidly in recent years as both retail and institutional interest in SRI/ESG investing has increased. Mutual funds and ETFs are available, among other products.
These include funds and ETFs that capture opportunities in emerging market infrastucture projects, such as green energy.
But this comes with a caveat.
Fund rating agency Morningstar found last year that nearly half of all funds marketed in the UK as "socially responsible" were average or worse than conventional funds when it came to ethical investment.
“Asset managers globally are incorporating ESG considerations into their investment processes,” says Abu-Habsa.
She adds: “Not because it's a statement on their values, but because they think they should form a part of any investment analysis and that they can have a future impact on a company's returns.”
She concludes: “It's become as much about value as it has about values.”