An Introduction to Socially Responsible Investment

Socially responsible investment (SRI) is the practice of incorporating social and environmental goals into investment decisions. Therefore, SRI is a strategy that encourages corporate practices that promote social responsibility and laudable initiatives such as impact investing, shareholder advocacy and community investing (Sparkes & Cowton, 2004; Guay, Doh & Sinclair, 2004; Schueth, 2003). At the same time, the rationale behind SRI is to consider both financial return as well as responsible investments for societal development. Its goals are based upon environmental issues, human rights, community involvement and labour relations (Ooi & Lajbcygier 2013; Sparkes, 2003; Friedman & Miles, 2001).

SRI’s professionally managed assets have emerged as a dynamic and quickly growing segment of the U.S. financial services industry (Schueth, 2003). In many cases, responsible and sustainable investments are influencing how asset managers invest in diversified portfolios (Lemke & Lins, 2014). This term refers to responsible investments that seek to avoid negative externalities. In fact, the investment portfolios of listed companies are often screened by SRI contractors (Renneboog, Ter Horst & Zhang, 2008). In fact, in recent years, SRI funds have become a popular investment opportunity. Many investors are attracted to businesses that will yield return on investment. Yet, it may appear that a large and growing segment of the population possess a spiritual yearning to integrate personal values into all aspects of life, including finance and investing (Schueth, 2003). As a result, many conscientious investors were avoiding businesses that are involved in alcohol, tobacco, fast food, gambling, pornography, weapons, contraception and abortion, fossil fuel production, and / or the military industries, among others (Logue, 2009; Ronneborg et al., 2008; Ghoul & Karam, 2007; Statman, 2000). In addition, responsible investors have become increasingly aware about the numerous instances of accounting fraud and other scandals that may have eroded their trust in corporate leadership. The areas of concern recognised by the SRI practitioners are often denoted under the heading of environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues, including social justice, human rights, anti-corruption and bribery issues and diversity on the boards (Camilleri, 2015).

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Filed under Corporate Social Responsibility, Corporate Sustainability and Responsibility, CSR, Socially Responsible Investment, SRI

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