Mainstream or Daydream? The Future for Responsible Investing

  • Lydenberg S
  • Graham S
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Abstract

This essay updates a 2002 article entitled Envisioning Socially Responsible Investing: A Model for 2006 , published in the Journal of Corporate Citizenship . Part One highlights developments in the corporate, institutional investor and financial communities, marking the progress of responsible investing and corporate social responsibility since that time. It notes increases by corporations in CSR reporting, both voluntary and mandatory, and in demand for that reporting; a trend by institutional investors toward transparency in proxy voting and the incorporation of social and environmental standards and best practices into investment policies; and the incorporation of social and environmental matters into stock analysis, academic business curricula, and financial professional training. Part Two raises a number of questions about the possibility of fundamental change in these three worlds. It suggests that, despite various positive developments, fundamental change will take place only when corporations see their contributions to society extending beyond short-term profits to a longer-term view including a cooperative relationship with government; when institutional investors seek broad-based returns to society from all asset classes as part of their fiduciary duties; and when various professional communities recognise that the value of corporations to society can legitimately be measured in terms other than short-term price.

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Authors

  • Steve Lydenberg

  • Sinclair Graham

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