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Europe gets new umbrella group on ethical investment

November 2001

A Europe-wide body to promote socially responsible investment (SRI) will be launched this month.

The European Sustainable and Responsible Investment Forum – or Eurosif – will act as an umbrella group for social investment forums in the UK, France, Germany, Netherlands and Italy.

Its main purpose will be to increase support for SRI in Europe, especially within investment institutions. Evelyn van Royen, Eurosif’s project manager, said this was likely to involve the commissioning of surveys and research, plus briefings, seminars and roundtable discussions. A web site will also be launched at www.eurosif.info

Funding for the Amsterdam-based body will come from the European Union, whose recent green paper on corporate social responsibility talked of the ‘need for further standardization, harmonization and transparency in screening tools and metrics used by screening agencies.’

However, further standardization is likely to be resisted by some groups active in this field, on the grounds that the wide variety of screening metrics in existence are the product of market demand, and that the market should be respected.

Eurosif will be launched at the corporate social responsibility conference that the Belgian presidency of the EU is hosting in Brussels on 27-28 November.

The creation of the group is partly a result of the rapid development of SRI on the continent, where two Sifs were created earlier this year – in Germany (Forum Nachhaltige Geldanlagen) and France (Forum pour l’Investissement Responsable).

A third national body, Forum per la Finanza sostenibile, was set up in Italy last month. It will be based in Milan at the offices of the sustainability consultancy Avanzi and will be led by a three-strong committee. Its general secretary will be Davide Dal Maso, a partner at Avanzi.

Eurosif will be based in the offices of the five-year-old Vereniging voor Beleggers Duurzame Ontwikkeling (Dutch Association of Investors for Sustainable Development).




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