Posted on Thursday 23rd September 2010
Carolyn Lamontagne, a recent graduate of the International Development Department, where she received her Master's degree in International Development. has had her dissertation published in Green Money Journal (Fall 2010 issue. volume 19, Issue 1, number 77).
Socially Responsible Investing: Where is the money going?
Socially responsible investing (SRI) is broadly defined as an investment strategy which seeks to maximise both financial return and social good. It is arguable that this industry is in its infancy and, to this day, exists primarily in a select number of developed nations. Nevertheless, the amount of monies being pushed into the industry has grown exponentially in the last 10 years, reaching a staggering $2.71 trillion USD in 2007 (Social Investment Forum (SIF) 2007a:ii). Yet despite this great growth, the academic analysis of this business has lagged behind.
While researching this paper, it was surprising to find how little study had been undertaken on this trillion dollar industry. Those involved rarely provide so much as a definition in their literature of what exactly SRI entails, typically leaving any explanatory statements for the more specific aspects of the industry. Those who do, generally adhere to the practice of a simple quotation from a small number of sources, namely their country's standard forum on the industry. This is interesting as it raises a number of important questions.
If they were asked to provide their own definition, would it differ and be an environment related statement?
Does this indicate that SRI is such a mainstream subject that a supplied definition is no longer necessary?
The purpose of this paper is to aid in closing this gap in research on the industry and to give a better understanding of SRI. Taking a look at where SRI funds are going and what these managers are doing is interesting not simply because it enables us to characterise and understand SRI but also it may uncover hints of shifts in the SRI industry's focus. It has the potential to provide a good picture of trends within the industry and relevant conclusions will be drawn which may hint at the future direction of the SRI industry.
This article was adapted from results of her dissertation on the SRI industry. For more information go to http://carolynlamontagne.com.
The whole article can be viewed on the Green Money Journals website.