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That's not what happened and it's not my fault anyway! An exploration of management attitudes towards SRI-shareholder engagement

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This paper explores semi-formal interactions between SRI-investors that take the governance route rather than deploy a best-in-class logic or exclusionary screening. On the basis of a stakeholder typology of the investor and of the chosen topic of interaction, namely compliance with the core ILO labour conventions, the paper formulates 10 expectations about management reactions to the concerns raised by investors. These expectations cover responsiveness, acknowledgment of positions and general attitude. The expectations are then related to the factual discourse by management responding to such concerns raised by investors. Based on data obtained from the Portfolio21-correspondence, which is a joint initiative of European investors, it is found that management is very willing to discuss cases but at the same time denies the truth-value of the allegations. Here, the problem of information asymmetry comes to the fore.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Assistant Professor of Ethics the Center for Ethics and Value Inquiry, Ghent University, Belgium; 2: Sustainable Development Officer with Dexia, Belgium; and 3: Head of Research, Vigeo Group S.A., Belgium

Publication date: October 1, 2007


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