The word Sanskrit word dharma has many different interpretations. It can be translated as the “law that governs the universe,” “individual obligation,” “the underlying order of nature,” and literally, “that which holds or supports” to create order and harmony within the complexity of the natural world. So when the Dow Jones launched its ‘Dharma Indexes’ earlier this month, it was worth looking into.
The Dow Jones Dharma Indexes measure dharma-compliant stocks, tracking over 3000 companies across the globe, around 1000 of which are in the US. Dharma Indexes have been created not only in the US but also in Britain, Japan, and India. The indexes identify and track the stocks of companies that observe the values of dharma-based religions including Hinduism and Buddhism
Dow Jones partnered with Dharma Investments out of India to create the indexes. An advisory committee of religious leaders and scholars will observe companies’ conduct and values for policies on environment, corporate governance, labor relations, and human rights as well as other dharmic based standards. By upholding the premise of dharma, companies will demonstrate conscientious practices about the groundwork of wealth and in turn support equally conscious investing.
The Dow Jones also maintains another faith-based index in the Muslim market which monitors sharia law, but has no plans for a Christian index at this time.
The law of dharma acknowledges the thread that connects the whole. By bringing awareness to all components of financial growth, the interconnectedness of all things is respected and appreciated. Thus, financial gain is responsible, ethical and in support of the advancement of the whole.