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April 02, 2012
Sustainable Investment Forums to Produce Global Trends Report
    by Robert Kropp

The report, scheduled for December, will be the first to assess environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) investment strategies across jurisdictions; a global website is also planned.


A press release published today by UK Sustainable Investment and Finance (UKSIF) announced that eight sustainable investment organizations, representing more than 1,000 members, will collaborate for the first time on a report identifying global trends in sustainable investment.

The announcement, made at the close of a meeting of seven of the organizations in London, also stated that the organizations will launch a global website in late 2012, and collaborate more closely on policy issues as well.

Most of the participants—UKSIF, US SIF: The Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment, the European Sustainable Investment Forum (Eurosif), the Canadian Social Investment Organization (SIO), the Responsible Investment Association Australasia (RIAA), the Dutch Association of Investors for Sustainable Development (VBDO) and the Association for Sustainable & Responsible Investment in Asia (ASrIA)—have been producing trends reports for years.

Representatives of the Africa Sustainable Investment Forum Project (AfricaSIF.org) did not attend the meeting, but provided input from the African region, according to UKSIF.

The global report "will document the types of investors involved, break down the strategies employed and make international market comparisons," the release stated. "It will cover all asset classes, from public equities and fixed income to hedge funds and microfinance. ESG investment strategies such as screening, integration and engagement will be assessed across jurisdictions."

Last week's meeting of sustainable investment organizations included panels on shareowner engagement and the economics of sustainable investment research, the release stated. Both subjects are significant factors in the global mainstreaming of sustainable investment.

Traditionally, approaches to engagement by European and US-based shareowner activists have differed, with those in the US far more likely to resort to the filing of resolutions than their European counterparts. However, members of the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR) appear to be gravitating toward the European model, with the number of resolutions filed down markedly in 2012.

According to Cary Krosinsky, a Senior Vice President at the ESG research firm Trucost and editor of the recently published Evolutions in Sustainable Investment: Strategies, Funds and Thought Leadership, the expense of ESG research can be challenging to the budgets of traditional socially responsible investment (SRI) firms.

"There hasn't been enough revenue behind the creation of data," Krosinsky told SocialFunds.com in February. "You have an industry that really cares about these issues, but the issues are really complicated. There are many hundreds of data points that need to be considered."

 

 
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