Ethical Performance
inside intelligence for responsible business


Lydenberg calls for global SRI think-tank

October 2002

A senior figure in the socially responsible investment community has proposed that a global think-tank be created to review methods of assessing the non-financial performance of companies.

Steven Lydenberg, principal at the US-based firm Domini Social Investments, which produces the Domini Social Index, says the think-tank is needed to develop a ‘defensible’ corporate social accounting system applicable to the widest possible range of companies.

A second priority area for review would be how intangible assets such as reputation should appear on the balance sheet.

Lydenberg argues in the latest issue of the Journal of Corporate Citizenship that individual SRI organizations lack the resources to ‘tackle critical problems of communal interest’ .

He says the think-tank could also develop common definitions of SRI concepts, given that ‘the SRI community has long bemoaned the inadequacy of the terminology at hand to describe and define its activities’.

There are a number of SRI umbrella bodies, such as the social investment forums in Asia (AsRia), Europe (Eurosif) and the US (US Social Investment Forum).

But these exist chiefly to promote socially responsible investment rather than to carry out research and develop new thinking.

During his 27-year career in the field, Lydenberg has worked for Franklin Research and Development (now known as Trillium Asset Management) and KLD Research and Analytics.

He is also a former director of corporate accountability research at the Council on Economic Priorities.

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