Submitted by CSRwire Weekly News Alert
Every other year, the Social Investment Forum (SIF) takes the pulse of socially responsible investing (SRI) with its trends report. The diagnosis? A healthy heart rate fuels continuing growth. From 2005 (when the report was last published) to 2007, SRI assets rose more than 18 percent--from $2.29 trillion to $2.71 trillion. In comparison, the broader market of all investment assets under management practically stood still, growing less than 3 percent. The report made waves, garnering coverage by the Wall Street Journal, On Wall Street, GreenBiz, Pensions & Investments, and Financial Planning.
Doctors usually advise patients to "stay active," and SRI has certainly done so through shareholder activism - with healthy results. Support for shareholder resolutions on social and environmental issues reached a record high in 2007 of 15.4 percent on average, up from the 9.8 percent average two years earlier.
SRI shareholder activism extends beyond social and environmental issues encompassing corporate governance, an area where social investors have been very successful. Boston Common Asset Management helped define strategies for addressing excessive executive compensation by engaging with Aflac, which became the first company to provide shareholders "Say on Pay." Aflac's proxy ballot this year contains an advisory vote on executive compensation, the result of "open and constructive dialogue" with Boston Common dating back to 2006. Almost a hundred other companies face resolutions this year asking them to implement "Say on Pay" as Aflac has done.
In another indicator of health, SRI research firm Innovest Strategic Value Advisors was named among the "Green 11," the "most eco-savvy corporations" according to Condé Nast Portfolio. This on top of recognition of Innovest by TBLI and Investment & Pensions Europe and the United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI.) Interestingly, the "Green 11" contained six other CSRwire members: Ceres, DuPont, Organic Valley, Starbucks, Wal-Mart, and Whole Foods. Not bad.
This article was written by CSRwire contributor Bill Baue.
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