Ethical Performance
inside intelligence for responsible business
 

review

Responsible investment

May 2006

Rory Sullivan and Craig Mackenzie (editors). Greenleaf Publishing. 382 pages. £45. Hardback.

This is a book that no professional, academic, or student with an interest in the emerging field of responsible investment will want to be without. It sets out to answer three questions: Do responsible investment strategies actually contribute to improvements in the social, ethical and environmental performance of companies? To what extent is it in investors’ interests to encourage higher standards of corporate responsibility? And do responsible investment strategies enhance financial performance for investors?

To accomplish this task, it draws on a wide range of contributors (39 in total), many of whom are wizened responsible investment practitioners. Readers may recognize the names of individual thought leaders, such as Russell Sparkes and Chris Tuppen, as well as key institutional players, such as FTSE4Good, Goldman Sachs, Henderson Global Investors, Innovest, Insight Investment, Morley Fund Management, Sustainable Asset Management and the UK Social Investment Forum.

One of the consequences of such an impressive stable of authors is that the book presents a good cross-section of opinions, including perspectives from investment analysts, fund managers, government representatives, companies and campaigners. Refreshingly, many chapters deal with the significant challenges of responsible investment, as well as its more commonly noted progress and potential.

Although the book takes an in-depth look at enhanced investment analysis, decision-making and shareholder activism, its self-confessed limitations relate to its scope. The focus is primarily on the UK and on investments in equities and bonds. However, the experiences shared and lessons learned clearly have global implications and arguably set the benchmark for what responsible investment is all about.

Wayne Visser




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