Ethical Performance
inside intelligence for responsible business


Investors prompt Standard Life to shun airline stocks

April 2008

Standard Life’s ethical funds have divested from airline stocks in a direct response to the views of retail investors.

The Edinburgh-based investment house, which manages £589million ($1.2billion) over five ethical funds, pulled out when 30 per cent of respondents to its recent ethical investor survey said they would prefer airlines to be completely excluded.

Standard Life told EP it accepted that this meant 70 per cent did not opt for exclusion but said it had made the decision because ‘this was the area where we got the strongest reaction on any particular issue’. Julie McDowell, head of SRI, said the ‘sizeable percentage’ in favour was a powerful enough influence on the ethical committee that took the decision. The committee consists of senior Standard Life managers and three individual investors in ethical funds.

Standard Life could not declare how much it divested from airline stocks, or from which companies, as its policy is to withhold specific details about stockholdings. However, ethical funds, which also exclude investments in nuclear power, defence, alcohol, tobacco, gambling and pornography, represent only a small percentage of the £143.4bn that Standard Life manages.

Ethical Investment Research Services says only two fund families – offered by King & Shaxson and Norwich Union – specifically exclude airlines. Others may do so because they concentrate on ‘sustainable’ sectors or companies seeking solutions to social and environmental problems.

Standard Life | UK & NI Ireland | Divestment Campaigns

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