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How new is socially responsible investment?

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Much recent comment has been concerned with a perceived distinction between socially responsible investment (SRI) and the older style of ethical investment, which operates on the basis of exclusion criteria. However, the distinction between SRI and ethical investment is not as clear‐cut as some reports have implied, in that some of the longer‐established funds have SRI characteristics. An example is the CIS’s Environ Trust, established in 1990, the operation of which has recently assisted the CIS in the adoption of SRI schemes for all its funds. The application of SRI introduces to mainstream funds the principle of engagement with companies. Investment is then based on the selection of ‘best practice’ companies rather than on criteria of exclusion. This suggests that there is scope for applying the experience of specialised ethical funds to the encouragement of greater social awareness by large shareholders in general.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Co-operative Insurance Society

Publication date: 2000-07-01

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