TOM HUDSON: Social awareness is finding its way into a growing number of
investor portfolios. Sustainable Responsible Investing known as SRI is an
investing style looking beyond the bottom line focusing on social,
religious or ethical guidelines. It has attracted an estimated $3 trillion
from investors. Sylvia Hall looks at how SRI works and who is doing it.
SYLVIA HALL, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT: In the world of
investing, everything has to add up. But a growing number of investors are
calculating a new bottom line into their decision making.
LISA WOLL, CEO, US SOCIAL INVESTMENT FORUM: The core principles are
you need to evaluate non-financial factors. Investing can’t just be about
what’s your return and it can’t just be about what’s your return is in the
HALL: What started as a movement to protest human rights violations
in South Africa has grown into a $3 trillion world of pensions, mutual
funds and other investments. In SRI, investors pick companies that uphold
their values. It’s a broad field. One investor could avoid companies with
grimy environmental records, while another favors companies with
transparent corporate governance.
WOLL: Today, you’ve got firms like Blackrock, Goldman Sachs, Deutsche
Bank, TIACREF, big, what I call big institutional actors who have a piece
of this going on, who are trying to integrate environmental and social
issues, governance issues more broadly but have small SRI shops.
HALL: The SRI trend has also taken hold in the religious community
as a way to fund retirement benefits, missions and community outreach
without breaching commitments to good works and social justice.
FATHER SEAMUS FINN, ETHICAL INVESTING CONSULTANT: There is I think a
sense of well-being and integrity and piece of mind that people are looking
for that they do actually want to look behind the curtain to see where the
product came from and where the profit came from, because that has to do
with their own sense of well being.
HALL: Most SRI funds are set up for long-term stability and not
necessarily short-term rewards. Research often shows that socially
conscious investments over the long run perform just as well as others.
Sylvia Hall, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, Washington.