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December 05, 2001
EC Adopts Sustainable and Responsible Investing with the Launch of Eurosif
    by William Baue

Social investment forums throughout Europe joined forces to establish Eurosif, which will centralize efforts to promote socially responsible investing on the European continent.

The European Commission (EC) supported the launch of the European Sustainable and Responsible Investment Forum, or Eurosif, announced at the EC Belgian Presidency Conference on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in Brussels on November 28, 2001. The forum unites the forces of existing social investment forums in the UK, France, Italy, the Netherlands, and the German-speaking countries—Germany, Austria, Luxembourg, and Switzerland.

“Recent studies have shown that despite the importance of green issues in Europe, the development of SRI in Europe lags behind both the US and the UK,” says UK Social Investment Forum Vice Chair and Eurosif Founding Chair Emma Howard Boyd. “With the growth of SRI [sustainable and responsible investing] expected to accelerate across Europe, Eurosif is ideally placed to help facilitate this.”

The UK Social Investment Forum (UKSIF) was founded in 1991 as a hub for promoting socially responsible investing. Besides serving as an information resource for the socially responsible investing community, UKSIF has also exerted its influence politically. It helped establish the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Socially Responsible Investment in 1997 by serving as its secretariat.

The Netherlands similarly promoted socially responsible investing early on, founding the Association of Investors for Sustainable Development (VBDO) in 1995. France, Italy, and the German-speaking countries, on the other hand, did not establish similar social investment forums until this year.

The EC provided an initial grant to help found Eurosif, which launched its website on the same day of its own inauguration. The website represents the “first pan-European access point on the web for information about sustainable and responsible investment,” according to the organization’s press release.

Eurosif’s broad goals include encouraging shareowner action to influence corporate social responsibility; conducting and publishing research on socially responsible investment issues as a means of influencing legislation and public policy; and expanding the network of social investment forums into other EC countries.

Eurosif will advance its goal of encouraging shareowner action immediately, at its January 2002 seminar on corporate transparency and disclosure regarding practice and governance on social, environmental, and ethical issues. An April 2002 seminar will focus on public policy and socially responsible investing.


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