We’re sure that ethical stances, just like statistics, can be spun any number of ways — even when it comes to exchange traded funds (ETFs). For example, Dido Sandler of the Financial Times writes that there are those who might argue that agriculture and timber companies are ethical. After all, they have a hand in giving people food and shelter.

However you spin it, investors need to make sure that what they’re investing in aligns with their own ethical standards. Some agricultural ETFs meet the criteria because crops are also used to produce biofuels. However, while biofuels are seen as an environmentally-friendly alternative, their advantages aren’t very clear cut.

Many investors committed to investing in socially responsible ETFs steer clear of agricultural funds for a number of reasons: genetic modification, animal welfare and intensive farming.

All this pretty much means, as Sandler points out, if you want to invest "green," you’ll probably need to develop some pretty broad ethical criteria.

The opinions and forecasts expressed herein are solely those of Tom Lydon, and may not actually come to pass. Information on this site should not be used or construed as an offer to sell, a solicitation of an offer to buy, or a recommendation for any product.