Maybe you’re the sort of person who participates in boycotts, deletes an app or protests a company because of an issue you’re passionate about. But what if you invested in the company instead?

It may seem counterintuitive, but one way to effect change is through impact investing — investing in a company with the goal of advancing environmental, social or governance (ESG) topics. Instead of shunning a company that doesn’t adhere to your values, you can buy shares of that company (typically via mutual funds) and suggest changes or propose resolutions that will be voted on by other investors.

And when money talks, corporations often listen. Impact investing is part of the broader socially responsible investing universe and has resulted in some big changes. Here’s what you need to know about impact investing — and some recent success stories.

‘Investing for a double bottom line’

Capitalism and compassion are unlikely bedfellows, but making money doesn’t have to come at anyone’s expense. Socially responsible investing appeals to investors who want to align their money with their values.

Impact investors see opportunity in having a proverbial seat at the table. By investing with a goal to have their voices heard, people realize their money can have a broader impact, says Tim Smith, director of ESG shareowner engagement at Walden Asset Management, a Boston-based portfolio management firm for socially responsible investors.

“You have to recognize you’re going to own companies that aren’t perfect,” but by investing with mutual funds that represent your point of view, you may be more successful in making an impact, Smith says. “When you’re investing for a double bottom line, the goal is to have profits for yourself but also to have an impact on the planet and our society.”

Pushing for climate change awareness

Mutual funds historically have led the charge in investing for impact, but more participation by the world’s largest asset managers could have a noticeable effect. Last year, BlackRock and Vanguard were among shareholders that voted to instruct ExxonMobil to report on the impact of global climate change policies.

In a letter to CEOs earlier this year, Laurence Fink, founder and chief executive officer of BlackRock, cited the asset manager’s responsibility to be “active, engaged agents” on behalf of clients. “To prosper over time, every company must not only deliver financial performance, but also show how it makes a positive contribution to society,” he wrote.

Walden Asset Management has been engaged in such action for several decades, and Smith points to a recent success story with Colgate-Palmolive. The company already was doing a lot of work on climate change when Walden proposed setting a science-based target for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. A few months after those 2014 discussions, Colgate-Palmolive announced a target to reduce its emissions by 25% by 2020.

While many companies ignore investor requests altogether, any type of engagement — ranging from a resolution that passes or informal discussions — can prompt companies to be more proactive, Smith says. “This can be quite an important tool for change.”

Read the rest of the article at Nerd Wallet